Working in construction can already be a dangerous profession. In fact, according to The Occupational Safety and Health Administration, it is estimated that one in ten construction workers are injured every year. During the winter, there are also weather-specific hazards for construction workers to be aware of.
1. Effects of Extreme Cold
Often, construction workers are required to work outside. Especially in New York,
working outside in the winter can be a health hazard. Temperatures often fall below
freezing and body sweat can contribute to the loss of body heat as well. Freezing cold
weather can contribute to the following conditions:
Frostbite affects the skin and underlying tissue. Some cases of frostbite are
superficial, and are able to be reversed over time. However frostbite that is deep
can cause permanent tissue loss. The most common places that frostbite occurs
is fingers, toes, and feet.
Hypothermia is a dangerous drop in body temperature. A normal body
temperature is 98.6 degrees. Hypothermia occurs when the body’s temperature
drops to 95 degrees or lower. Hypothermia can lead to symptoms such as loss of
coordination, shallow breathing, and even unconsciousness and ultimately death.
Trench Foot is caused by wet and cold temperatures. To prevent the loss of body
heat, blood vessels constrict to and stop circulation to the feet. The skin tissue
dies as a result of the lack of oxygen and nutrients.
2. Slip and Fall Accidents
Slip and fall accidents increase in the winter due to ice and snow. These types of
accidents can lead to very serious injuries such as brain or spinal cord injuries.
According to the National Floor Safety Institute, slips and falls are the leading cause of
workers’ compensation claims.
3. Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
Nearly half of all accidental carbon monoxide deaths occur in January, February and
March. Heaters, generators, pressure washers, and snow blowers can all produce
carbon monoxide when in use. CO is odorless and colorless, making it especially
difficult to detect. Early symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning include flu-like
symptoms such as headaches, nausea, and fatigue. It can also lead to brain damage
4. Repairing Downed or Damaged Power Lines
The moisture of snow can reduce the insulation value of protective equipment, and
therefore could lead to electrocution.
5. Snow Removal Accidents
Sometimes snow needs to be removed on a construction site. However, shoveling too
hard can lead to musculoskeletal injury.
If you or someone you know has been a victim of winter construction hazards, contact
us today at The Cochran Firm New York. Our team of dedicated team of personal injury
attorneys will get the justice that is deserved.