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In how many feet of snow did you work today?

Following the late-winter cold spell and heavy snowfalls -- several feet in some areas in Pennsylvania -- readers may want to spare a thought for workers who earn their livelihoods by working outdoors. While being out in nature has its benefits in other seasons, some jobs can be life threatening in the winter.

Toughest winter jobs

Are you in one of the occupations in which your job does not stop -- even in the worst winter weather conditions? Then you will likely be exposed to hazards of dehydration, hypothermia, slips and falls, and more. These potential injuries can cause permanent disabilities. Here are three of the most hazardous jobs:

  1. Linemen and meter readers: Powerline technicians respond to emergencies to restore power at all hours. A spokesperson for West Penn Power says the company trains workers to protect themselves in various ways. They use hand warmers, wear several thin layers of clothing and use snow chains on their boots. In harsh weather, the company briefs linemen every morning to prepare them for the cold, to avoid any deadly mistakes of losing focus of the dangers of electricity during the freezing conditions.
  2. Airport ramp agents: The jobs of these workers are already challenging, even in good weather conditions. When ramps are slippery from ice and snow, the risks are multiplied. They often have to navigate through snow and ice while moving heavy bags that could weigh up to 70 pounds each in order to deice the aircraft. For safety, employees must avoid dressing in tight clothes that could impede blood circulation, and they must keep their ears warm.
  3. Mail carriers: Because these individuals spend many hours walking in the snow and on slippery walkways, they face several hazards. The most common injuries among mail carriers result from slip-and-fall accidents. However, they also face hypothermia and frostbite risks, along with the dangers of trench foot. Their training often includes learning to mimic the walks of penguins and a slip-and-fall machine teaches them how to fall to prevent severe injuries.

If you are in one of these and other hazardous occupations, you will likely find comfort in knowing that you are eligible for compensation should you suffer an on-the-job injury. You might find the claims processes challenging at a time when you are trying to recover. Fortunately, an experienced Pennsylvania workers' compensation attorney can handle all the proceedings required to obtain financial coverage of medical expenses and lost income. If your employer is a public company, your attorney will file benefits claims with the appropriate agency.

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