SOURCE: Perecman Law Firm

Perecman Law Firm

December 21, 2009 12:12 ET

Important Winter Safety Tips for New York Construction Workers From a Construction Accident Lawyer

Conditions on the Job for Construction Workers Are More Dangerous Now Than at Any Time of the Year as Winter Brings Wet, Freezing Weather, and the Serious Need for Cold Weather Safety Precautions

NEW YORK, NY--(Marketwire - December 21, 2009) - As the cold weather rolls in with the ice and snow, so do calls to New York construction accident lawyers. In freezing conditions, safety is an issue as workers on outdoor construction sites are at a greater risk of slipping and falling, and even dying on the job.

Cold weather work can be hazardous to anyone, but it's especially dangerous to construction workers and others who work outdoors. Employers must take extra precautions to protect workers from cold weather-related injuries, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). To help, OSHA reissues warnings each year about the dangers of working in cold temperatures.

"Changing weather is just a part of living and working in New York," construction accident lawyer David Perecman said. "Workers, contractors and managers need to expect the weather changes and prepare for them."

Specific conditions that can result from prolonged exposure to the cold include frostbite and hypothermia.

Hypothermia is a dangerous lowering of a person's body temperature. Surprising to many, this condition that can occur in cold, wet, windy conditions, even if the temperature is not below freezing. Danger signs of hypothermia include disorientation, slurred speech, drowsiness, uncontrolled shivering, and confused behavior.

Frostbite occurs when exposed skin actually freezes. It most often affects the nose, ears, chin, cheeks, fingers, and toes.

With the arrival of cold weather to New York, OSHA is reminding both employers and workers to take necessary precautions. Tips include the importance of:

-- Recognizing the environmental and workplace conditions that may be dangerous and then improving them.

-- Learning the signs and symptoms of illnesses and injuries caused by the cold and how to perform emergency care

-- Training employees about the illnesses and injuries that can result from the cold weather and freezing conditions

-- Using the buddy system, which means construction workers should work in pairs. Individuals working alone can often be unaware of their worsening hypothermia or other condition, resulting in an inability to get help.

-- Monitoring yourself. For example, avoiding exhaustion because more energy is needed to keep muscles warm.

-- Encouraging employees/co-workers to wear the correct clothing while working in cold, wet and windy conditions. Learning to layer is critical. Clothes can be adjusted to changing weather and job-related conditions.

-- Ensuring that work sites are checked to make sure unsafe conditions like snow and ice are cleared from the areas of the sites where construction crews are working.

-- Providing cold weather safety training that includes the above information.

OSHA provides useful tips for dealing with employees working in cold weather at

"Construction workers must be made aware of the hazards associated with cold temperatures, especially at this time of the year in New York. A construction accident," lawyer Perecman said, "is always a serious matter."

Prevention is key; knowledge of cold weather hazards and proper dress can reduce injuries and fatalities in cold weather conditions and promote safety in a construction site.

"Safety needs to be made a priority, no matter the weather conditions. But, it needs to be a priority especially now -- when snow, ice and wind create slipping and other hazards while contractors and developers are under pressure to keep jobs moving along without weather-related delays," said New York construction accident lawyer Perecman.

About David Perecman and The Perecman Firm, PLLC:

For the past 30 years, the New York construction accident lawyers, auto accident, personal injury, construction accident, and medical malpractice lawyers at The Perecman Firm, PLLC have championed all types of cases for personal injury accidents. David Perecman, founder of the Firm, is a Board Director and the past Secretary and Treasurer of the New York State Trial Lawyers Association (NYSTLA) and a chair of its Labor Law Committee. Mr. Perecman's achievements have brought him recognition as an Honoree in the National Law Journal's Hall of Fame, in New York Magazine's "The Best Lawyers in America" and The New York Times Magazine "New York Super Lawyers, Metro Edition" for the years 2007-2010.

The Firm has recovered millions of dollars for its clients. Among the more recent victories, Mr. Perecman won a $15 million verdict* for a construction accident, a $5.35 million dollar verdict** for an automobile accident, and a $40 million dollar structured settlement for medical malpractice.

*later settled while on appeal for $7.940 million
** later settled for $3.5 million
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