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Working Safely in Extreme Weather in NYC

Posted in Workplace Accidents on April 12, 2022

Working Safely in Extreme Weather in NYC

New York City can experience extreme weather conditions: freezing temperatures and heavy snow in the winter; heat and humidity in the summer. New York can even get tropical storms and hurricanes in the fall.

Through all of these weather extremes, New Yorkers still go to work. And while you cannot prevent every workplace accident, thinking about worker safety can help you reduce your risk of a weather-related injury or illness.

Here are some suggestions for working safely in extreme weather in NYC.

Worker Safety Regulations in NYC

An important part of worker safety comes from the regulations that employers must follow in New York. New York has many laws and regulations that protect workers from workplace hazards.

But New York tends to defer to the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) on weather-related worker safety. This approach differs from some other states, like California, which have specific safety regulations that govern how employers should protect workers from extreme weather.

OHSA does not tell employers how to work safely in extreme weather. But it does tell employers how to protect employees from environmental hazards. Thus, the same guidelines would apply to workers in a refrigerated warehouse as those on a construction site in winter.

What Are Some Environmental Worker Safety Guidelines?

The following are some guidelines that employers might use in extreme weather.

Protection From Falls

OSHA has extensive fall protection resources for employers.

Fall protection guidelines cover a few areas, such as:

  • Guardrails
  • Personal safety equipment, like safety harnesses and lines
  • Flooring
  • Worker training

Employers must keep their floors clean and dry, if possible. This could mean that employers must shovel snow and salt walkways. They should also provide mops to keep slick walkways dry in rainstorms.

Employers must install guardrails on elevated workplaces, around holes, and near dangerous machinery. Employers might need to provide additional protection like harnesses or safety nets to prevent construction accidents in windy or rainy conditions.

Additionally, employers must train workers to spot falling hazards and take measures to minimize the risk posed by them.

Protection From Extreme Cold

OSHA relies on its general rule that employers must protect workers from known environmental hazards.

During the winter, employers should protect workers by:

  • Training them to dress properly and recognize the risk of cold-weather injuries and conditions
  • Minimizing wet or damp working conditions
  • Monitoring workers for trench foot, hypothermia, frostbite, and exhaustion
  • Setting up warm, dry areas for work breaks
  • Scheduling work during warmer hours
  • Providing warm beverages and heaters in work and break areas

Extreme cold can also bring environmental risks from snow and ice. Falling icicles, limited visibility, and slippery tools can cause unique safety risks to workers in wintery conditions.

Protection From Extreme Heat

OSHA also relies on its general worker protection rule for extreme heat. OSHA has begun reviewing whether it needs to supplement the general rule with regulations tailored to address extreme heat due to climate change.

Some steps recommended by OSHA to protect workers in extreme heat include:

  • Training employees to recognize heat-induced injuries and treat them
  • Providing cool water and fans in work areas
  • Scheduling regular rest periods in shaded or air-conditioned areas
  • Avoiding working in the hottest part of the afternoon
  • Instructing workers on how to dress for the heat without compromising safety

With heat, the first line of defense comes from the workers. If they learn how to prevent and recognize heat stroke and exhaustion, they can stop it before it causes injury or death.

Contact Our Workplace Accident Law Firm in New York, NY For Help if You’ve Sustained Injuries Working in Extreme Weather

Workers and employers must work together to create safe working environments. This is nowhere more true than in extreme weather. When employers support workers with training and infrastructure, they can prevent weather-related illnesses and injuries regardless of the conditions.

However, if your employer has failed to provide a safe working environment and the conditions harmed you, contact the New York City workplace accident lawyers at Law Offices of Jay S. Knispel Personal Injury Lawyers at your nearest location to schedule a free consultation.

We have two convenient locations in New York:

Law Offices of Jay S. Knispel Personal Injury Lawyers – New York City Office
450 7th Ave #409
New York, NY 10123
(212) 564-2800

Law Offices of Jay S. Knispel Personal Injury Lawyers – Brooklyn Office
26 Court St Suite 2511
Brooklyn, NY 11242
(718) 802-1600

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