US Dept of Labor

Occupational Safety & Health AdministrationWe Can Help

Winter Storms
Plan. Equip. Train

To prevent injuries, illnesses and Fatalities during winter storms.

photo collage banner with photos of someone shoveling snow, walking in slush, a cone marking a hazard, a worker spreading deicer

Winter weather presents hazards including slippery roads/surfaces, strong winds and environmental cold. Employers must prevent illnesses, injuries, or fatalities, by controlling these hazards in workplaces impacted by winter weather.

snowflake caution sign
Preventing Slips on Snow and Ice

To prevent slips, trips, and falls, employers should clear snow and ice from walking surfaces, and spread deicer, as quickly as possible after a winter storm. When walking on snow or ice is unavoidable workers should be trained to:

  • Wear footwear that has good traction and insulation (e.g. insulated and water resistant boots or rubber over-shoes with good rubber treads)
  • Take short steps and walk at a slower pace to react quickly to changes in traction
Preventing Falls When Removing Snow from Rooftops and Other Elevated Surfaces

OSHA’s Hazard Alert (PDF*) and winter weather webpages provide guidance to employers on how to prevent serious injuries and fatalities. Employers should consider options to avoid working on roofs or elevated heights, plan ahead for safe snow removal and must:

  • Provide required fall protection and training when working on the roof or elevated heights
  • Ensure ladders are used safely (e.g. clearing snow and ice from surfaces)
  • Use extreme caution when working near power lines
  • Prevent harmful exposure to cold temperatures and physical exertion
Additional Resources

Cold Stress Safety and Health Guides. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

Cold Stress Quick Card (PDF*). Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), (2014). Also available in Spanish (PDF*).

Extreme Cold: A Prevention Guide to Promote Your Personal Health and Safety. US Department of Health and Human Services, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Falls and Other Hazards to Workers Removing Snow from Rooftops and Other Elevated Surfaces. OSHA Hazard Alert.

National Weather Service. The National Weather Service's Daily Briefing is a website that provides information on the weather outlook.

NOAA Weather Radio. A network of radio stations that continuously broadcast weather information from the nearest National Weather Service office.

OSHA is a Weather-Ready Nation Ambassador committed to working with NOAA and other Ambassadors to strengthen national preparedness for and resilience against extreme weather.

*Accessibility Assistance: Contact OSHA's Directorate of Technical Support and Emergency Management at (202) 693-2300 for assistance accessing PDF materials.

All other documents, that are not PDF materials or formatted for the web, are available as Microsoft Office® formats and videos and are noted accordingly. If additional assistance is needed with reading, reviewing or accessing these documents or any figures and illustrations, please also contact OSHA's Directorate of Technical Support and Emergency Management at (202) 693-2300.

**eBooks - EPUB is the most common format for e-Books. If you use a Sony Reader, a Nook, or an iPad you can download the EPUB file format. If you use a Kindle, you can download the MOBI file format.

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