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Workers' compensation: Snow removal can be life-threatening

With January being the coldest month in New Hampshire, employers must take special care in protecting the health and safety of employees. Many workers' compensation claims are filed nationwide every year after weather-related workplace injuries. Not only must employers provide the necessary personal protective equipment, they must also provide adequate safety training.

One of the most hazardous winter tasks is snow removal from rooftops, decks and other structures. Various reasons exist for the many lives that are lost during snow removal activities every year. Some of the frequently cited safety violations include ill-maintained equipment and the lack of fall protection. Although the Occupational Safety and Health Administration does not have specific standards for snow removal, employers must protect workers from known hazards, which include weather-related occupational hazards such as wind, ice and snow.

Ladders snow blowers and other equipment used must be adequately maintained, and only trained workers must be tasked to use them. Employers are also reminded to provide extensive safety training to all employees and to consider the possibility that new workers might come from areas where they were not exposed to winter ice and snow. Removing broken limbs and fallen trees also pose significant hazards that need special attention when it comes to operation and safety training.

Despite the safety precautions taken by employers and employees, workplace accidents will continue to occur. Injured workers will likely be eligible for financial assistance to cover medical expenses and lost wages. Dealing with the benefits claims process might be a daunting task, especially from a hospital bed. For this reason, many New Hampshire victims of occupational injuries seek the support and guidance of an experienced workers' compensation attorney to assist with the navigation of legal and administrative proceedings to obtain compensation.

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