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Guarding against the hazards of snow removal

West Virginia residents are no stranger to the hazards of snow removal. Something as fundamental as one's posture when lifting a load of snow can spell the difference between a tolerable winter and one spent in the hospital. This is why the Occupational Safety and Health Administration has provided some safety tips for everyone who works in the snow removal industry.

Businesses should first ensure that their employees receive enough fluids and break times as this will help keep away frostbite, hypothermia and other cold-weather conditions. Eye and head protection equipment is another must, especially when removing snow from rooftops and other elevated surfaces.

Draglines and snow rakes are recommended for rooftop work. If workers must climb up a roof, they should avoid creating piles of snow and always take the added weight into account. Snow should be removed uniformly and after careful consideration of what's below since people can get trapped and suffocate in snow.

When lifting wet, heavy snow, workers should use their legs and never put their backs into it. If power lines are present, workers should keep a distance of at least 10 feet. Furthermore, workers should never strain as heart rates will already be increased by the cold.

Whether a worker has a finger cut off by a snow blower or suffers angina pectoris, he or she will be eligible for damages through workers' compensation. To file for this, the victim simply must show that the accident took place on the job and report it to his or her employer. Nevertheless, a lawyer could be helpful since the victim might be denied the maximum settlement without professional advice.

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