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Snow removal poses serious injury hazards in Illinois

Employers must provide work environments that will protect the health and safety of employees. This is a significant responsibility for business owners in Illinois who offer snow and ice removal services. These activities pose serious injury hazards, particularly if the jobs involve working on roofs, and employers need to plan such projects with care after considering all potential risks.

Safety authorities say the primary cause of injuries, and even fatalities, during snow removal activities involve falls from elevated structures and rooftops. While some roofs collapse under the weight of excessive loads of snow, these accidents often include workers falling over the roof's edge or through roof openings such as skylights. Many serious injuries have resulted from falls from aerial lifts and ladders.

Additional risks that snow and ice removal jobs pose include the threat of electrocution from extension cords and power lines, back injuries or fractured bones caused by slips, trips and falls, overexertion and hypothermia or frostbite. Those working at ground level are at risk of being in the path of masses of snow and falling ice from the activities on the rooftops above them. Many other hidden hazards might also be present.

Any Illinois worker who has to deal with a serious injury that is work related must inform his or her employer as soon as possible. That can set the wheels in motion for workers' compensation benefits. Some injured workers choose to leave the benefits claims process in the hands of an attorney who is experienced in dealing with the state-regulated insurance program. Benefits typically cover medical expenses and a portion of lost wages.

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