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February 8, 2013

Commissioner Paquette reminds Mainers to prevent injuries by working safely

For Immediate Release: Feb. 8
Contact: Julie Rabinowitz, 621-5009

AUGUSTA—With the forecast predicting blizzard conditions and heavy snow accumulation this weekend, Commissioner of Labor Jeanne Paquette reminds Mainers to take precautions to prevent serious injuries while removing snow from driveways and roofs.

“By working smart in the storm, we can help prevent serious injuries,” explained Paquette. “We want to keep everyone safe. Our emergency personnel need to focus on the storm, and dangerous blizzard conditions may delay response time for ambulances and other emergency personnel.”

SafetyWorks!, a program of the Department of Labor, offers the following snow removal safety tips.

When snowblowing and shoveling:

  • Follow the start-up procedures in your snowblower manual.
  • Do not put your fingers down the chute to clear a jam.
  • Shut off the engine before refueling.
  • If close to the roadway, make sure you are visible to traffic.
  • Dress in layers and wear a hat to prevent hypothermia.
  • If shoveling, take frequent breaks and don’t over exert yourself.
  • Call 9-1-1 if you experience signs of a heart attack, including uncomfortable pressure, fullness, squeezing or pain in the center of the chest that goes away and comes back or lasts for more than a few minutes; pain in the shoulders, necks and arms; and chest discomfort accompanied by nausea, shortness of breath, sweating, lightheadness and fainting.

When clearing snow from a roof:

  • Make sure the ladder is secure.
  • Don’t overreach from the ladder.
  • Use a snow rake if possible without going up onto the roof.
  • If a flat roof, stay at least 6 feet from the edge.
  • Be careful not to step on a skylight.

The SafetyWorks! program’s mission is to prevent work-related injury and illness. It trains about 8,000 people and consults at nearly 1,000 worksites in Maine annually. To learn more about the program, call toll-free 1-877-SAFE 345 (1-877-723-3345) or visit the SafetyWorks! website, .