MOSH Reminds Employers to Consider Snow Removal Hazards


BALTIMORE (2/12/10) - As Maryland digs out from record snowfalls, the Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation's Maryland Occupational Safety and Health (MOSH) unit is advising employers to take appropriate precautions against employee injuries that could result from snow removal.

"We want employers to consider the safety and health risks involved in removing the amounts of snow that have accumulated across Maryland in the past several days," said Ron DeJuliis, Commissioner of DLLR's Division of Labor and Industry.

MOSH's guidance to employers includes:

  • Clear snow from around exhaust vents to prevent buildup of carbon monoxide.
  • Realize that snow removal from roofs entails a number of potential dangers. Workers may fall through skylights that cannot support the weight of a worker. Roofs could collapse from the added weight of people and equipment on top of layers of heavy snow. Also, fall protection is critical because of the danger of workers slipping off roofs.
  • Clearing icicles from overhead must be done with extreme caution.
  • Employees who are removing snow need to be carefully monitored, particularly if they have existing health conditions.
  • Heavy equipment must be operated as designed, with all safety mechanisms in working order and in use. Two fatalities from the private use of heavy equipment have already been reported in Maryland in conjunction with snow removal efforts.

For more information on safety issues related to snowstorms, visit the Maryland Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) website.

For more information related to occupational safety and health, visit the Maryland Occupational Safety and Health (MOSH) web page.