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Injured workers: New York's most hazardous winter jobs

When severe winter weather strikes in New York, employees in some outdoor jobs are exposed to serious workplace hazards. Reports of injured workers typically involve slip-and-fall accidents, dehydration and hypothermia. Technicians who work on power lines and meter readers are some of the most at-risk employees. Although power companies do major construction and maintenance during the months of spring or fall, emergencies in winter must be addressed. Despite the protective gear the linemen wear, they risk their lives when they are overwhelmed by the cold and lose focus on the dangers of electricity.

Another group of workers who risk their lives in harsh wind and brutal cold is airport ramp agents. They have to cope with snow and ice while they lift heavy bags, de-ice planes and deal with dangerous, slippery ramps. The danger is even more severe when blizzards and whiteouts occur. The listed physical demands of this occupation include climbing stairs, stooping, standing, reaching, pushing and lifting heavy objects. When done in extreme weather conditions, these actions can be very hazardous.

Mail carriers also face additional risks when they have to move about outdoors and cope with slippery walkways. The most prevalent injuries suffered by these workers appear to be caused by slip-and-fall incidents. UPS uses innovative ways to prepare mail carriers for the conditions and to teach them how to avoid injuries. Using penguins at safety training sessions allows workers to mimic the way penguins walk, and training new UPS deliverers includes walking on a slip-and-fall machine to learn how to fall to avoid injuries.

Injured workers in New York are entitled to pursue recovery of medical expenses and lost income. However, the claims process can be challenging, especially if the injuries are severe and the victim is incapacitated. Workers' compensation attorneys can navigate benefits claims on behalf of injured workers.

Source: accuweather.com, "3 of the toughest winter jobs", Chaffin Mitchell, March 7, 2017

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