PORTLAND, Maine, Jan. 26, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Once again, meteorologists are forecasting heavy snow across the Northeast. Most employers will not be declaring a snow day, so MEMIC has some advice to help keep you and your loved ones safe during these less-than-ideal working conditions.
First, think differently about your normal tasks. Extreme weather events are not like every other day, extra planning is required. Be mindful that during inclement weather schedules will change, extra travel time will be necessary, most tasks will take longer to complete and additional duties may be added.
Remove Snow Safely
If you are considering clearing snow from your roof, MEMIC strongly recommends contacting a professional. Roofing and maintenance contractors not only have the training and equipment to do this work, but they should carry insurance for property and personal damage while on your premises. The cost for paying a professional to take care of the problem is always less than major property damage from a roof leak or the pain, suffering and cost that can go along with a serious fall injury.
Keeping snow cleared around buildings is important, but snow blower operators suffer more than 500 amputations and over 5,000 emergency room visits each year reports the U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission. Sooner or later your snow blower is going to get clogged, don't let your frustration get the better of you. Always power down the machine before unclogging it, including unplugging electric models. NEVER use your hand to clear the intake augers or discharge chute.
There are also 11,500 snow shoveling injuries and medical emergencies each year according to the American Journal of Emergency Medicine. As with any strenuous activity, warm-up and stretch before you grab the shovel. "Avoid caffeine, smoking and eating a big meal before shoveling - you don't need any extra tax on your heart or blood flow," says Allan Brown, MEMIC's chief ergonomist.
Just because it is cold, doesn't mean you can't overheat. Snow may look light and fluffy, but it can weigh up to 30 pounds per cubic foot. Stay hydrated and take frequent rest breaks to allow your muscles and cardiovascular system to recover. Fatigue can lead to injury - recent research ranks overexertion as the number one cause of workplace injuries.
Staying dry is just as important as staying warm. Dressing in light layers that wick sweat away from your body and keep moisture out can help prevent overheating by removing or adding clothing according to your level of activity.
This is the time of year when slips and falls increase dramatically, the importance of proper footwear cannot be overstated says Peter Koch, a safety management consultant at MEMIC. "When outside wear a boot that has a good heavy tread or a traction enhancing device like Stabilicers, Yaktrax or MicroSpikes."
Last but not least, transportation causes the most work fatalities. Proper vehicle maintenance, stocking an emergency kit and planning all trips to allow extra time are all keys to safe journeys. Remember, the most important thing you do at work is come home safe.
For more about working safe in all types of conditions, visit MEMIC's safety blog www.memicsafetynet.com
The MEMIC Group includes MEMIC Indemnity Company, MEMIC Casualty Company, and parent company Maine Employers' Mutual Insurance Company; all rated "A" (Excellent) by A.M. Best. As super-regional workers' compensation specialty insurers, The MEMIC Group holds licenses to write workers' compensation in 46 states plus the District of Columbia. The group insures more than 20,000 employers and their estimated 300,000 employees, and holds more than $1 billion in assets. The group maintains offices in Manchester, NH; Glastonbury, CT; Albany, NY; Weehawken, NJ; West Conshohocken, PA; Tysons Corner, VA; and Tampa, FL; in addition to its headquarters in Portland, ME.
Contact: Michael Bourque, SVP, External Affairs, MEMIC
207.791.3314 | [email protected]