Living in Pennsylvania means you will have to deal with snow during the winter months. Historical records from the National Weather Service reveal that a few areas in Pennsylvania can expect to receive in excess of 70, 80, or even 100 inches of snow annually. Philadelphians and those living in the surrounding southeastern counties can anticipate around two to three feet in total.
Although you will have to take care of any snow removal at your home, you can rely on workers to take care of the snow everywhere else. This includes at private and public businesses, as well as along rural roads, highways, and the Turnpike. However, as with many occupations, snow removal work has its challenges. Each year, plenty of snow removal workers end up getting hurt and filing Workers’ Compensation claims because of injuries suffered on the job. The good news is that there are ways for all snow removal professionals to lower their chances of acute and chronic physical injury.
What Makes Snow Removal Work Hazardous?
If you have shoveled snow just once, you know how demanding the experience can be. You have to bend over, lift a pile of snow carefully, balance it, and move it to its intended spot. Although some snow removal workers use equipment such as snow blowers and plows to limit their physical exertion, others regularly turn to the old-fashioned method of scooping to clear off sidewalks, doorways, outdoor stairways, and smaller parking lots. This leaves them at risk of slipping or tripping on slippery surfaces, not to mention general overexertion.
Even snow removal workers who use machinery can suffer injuries while at work. Machines can slide, tip over, or malfunction. And vehicles such as snowplows can get into accidents. Plus, the mere fact that snow removal workers have an outdoor job site in adverse, chilly conditions can lead to a host of physical problems.
What Are Some Common Snow Removal Worker Injuries?
Every Workers’ Compensation claim made by a snow removal worker is unique. Nevertheless, reports from past claims show that the following injuries tend to be common among those working in the snow removal field:
- Soft tissue sprains and strains
- Bone fractures and breaks
- Traumatic brain injury (TBI) from getting hit in the head or falling
- Carbon monoxide exposure
- Crushing injuries
- Repetitive stress injuries
- Heart attack
How Can Snow Cleanup Workers Protect Themselves?
Workers involved in snow cleanup projects can do their best to limit the chance of an on-the-job injury by practicing a few strategies.
- Wear the proper personal protective equipment to reduce injuries, including the right headgear and footwear.
- Test machinery and equipment regularly to ensure it is in proper working order.
- Make sure all electrical equipment is adequately grounded.
- Follow all training protocols.
- Use extra safety equipment and apply special techniques when removing snow from elevated areas such as flat or slightly slanted rooftops.
- Pay attention to the condition of the surface of roads, lots, walkways, etc.
- Take frequent breaks when performing physical activity such as manual shoveling and ice scraping.
- Know the signs of cold weather exposure and seek medical help immediately if necessary.
What Happens if I Am Hurt While Removing Snow for Work?
Even if you know the hazards of snow removal and take all measures to protect yourself, you may become the victim of a work accident. If this happens, you have the right to submit a Workers’ Compensation claim to your employer. Workers’ Compensation benefits are available to help you pay for your medical recovery. When your claim is accepted, you will also receive a portion of the wages you would have expected to earn if you had not been hurt.
If the insurance company or your employer denies your Workers’ Compensation claim, you can always appeal the decision with or without the help of a legal professional. Often, initially denied claims are reversed, especially when injured workers retain the services of lawyers who can help.
West Chester Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at Wusinich, Sweeney & Ryan, LLC Protect the Rights of Injured Workers
If you were hurt on the job while working as a snow removal or cleanup worker, reach out to the West Chester Workers’ Compensation lawyers at Wusinich, Sweeney & Ryan, LLC for help. Our dedicated team has years of experience, and we will fight to get the compensation for which you are entitled. Contact us online or call us at 610-594-1600 for a free consultation today. We are located in Exton, Pennsylvania, where we serve clients throughout Downingtown, West Chester, Exton, Coatesville, Phoenixville, Malvern, Lyndell, Wagontown, Uwchlan Township, Parkesburg, Chester Springs, Lancaster County, Reading, and Morgantown.