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Employers need to plan for bad weather

According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, employers have an obligation to protect their employees in bad weather conditions. They need to plan properly, equip the workers to deal with the conditions and train them in advance. This can prevent injuries, fatalities and illnesses.

This is often cited in reference to winter weather, with snow and ice making surfaces very dangerous and road conditions hazardous. But it's really advice that can be used all spring, as well, with high amounts of snow-melt and runoff, an accumulation of mud, high winds, thunder storms and other such issues. Workers need to be properly prepared for all conditions that may arise.

Some of the tips that OSHA provides include the following:

-- Giving workers proper footwear, especially when they are going to be working on slick and dangerous surfaces.

-- If working at elevation, providing workers with harnesses and other safety equipment that can prevent falls.

-- Always being careful around electric power lines.

-- Only using well-maintained equipment.

-- Working to limit exposure to the elements. This doesn't mean workers can't do their jobs in poor weather conditions, but employers need to recognize the dangers and work to avoid over-exposure.

-- Encouraging workers to work slowly—taking smaller steps, for instance—any time that they are working in hazardous conditions, especially when footing is not secure and traction is limited.

Were you injured because an employer did not give you the right equipment or training, or because you were pressed to work too quickly in dangerous conditions? If so, you may be able to seek compensation in New Jersey.

Source: OSHA, "Winter Weather," accessed March 11, 2016

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