January 27, 2017
Every year, more than 11,000 children and adults get injured while shoveling snow. Common injuries include overworked muscles, soft tissue injuries, falls, being hit with the shovel, cuts, and broken bones. However, there are steps you can take in order to be safe while engaging in snow removal activities.
Get the Right Gear
Take a few moments to gear up with the right choices. Slip-resistant boots will allow you to maintain traction on the driveway and sidewalk. Dress in layers so that you can adjust accordingly when you’re out in the cold. You lose a good deal of body heat through your head and hands, so be sure to add a warm hat and gloves. The mittens or gloves will also protect your hands from blisters as you work.
Start with a Stretch
Shoveling snow is a workout, so you’ll want to warm up beforehand. Stretch your muscles before you pick up the shovel and start tackling the buildup.
Keep Up with the Snowfall
It’s easier to go out and shovel an inch of snow three or four times a day than it is to clear four to six inches of snow at one time. This is because the weight of the fallen snow will rapidly add up, and the heavier load will be much more difficult to handle. Shovel at the start of the snowfall and go outside frequently to keep up with the accumulation.
Get a snow shovel with a nice long handle that will allow you to grasp it while still placing the lower edge on the ground in front of you. Rather than lifting and twisting to move the snow to the side, simply, use your shovel like a bulldozer to push it in front you from one side of the driveway to the other. Focus on keeping your back reasonably straight and supported as you work.
You’ll still reach points where the snow has to be lifted and moved out of the way. When this happens, remember to bend your knees so that you lift with your legs rather than your back. Instead of trying to throw the snow in any direction, position yourself so that you can pick up the snow and toss it into a pile in front of you. This will eliminate the risk of back injuries caused by rotating while lifting.
Watch the Time
Ideally, you should only spend 20 to 25 minutes at a time working on the snow removal. When the time is up, you should return indoors to warm yourself and get some water.
Another option is to let the professionals handle the snow for you. Homeowners can contract with snow removal to clear away the snow after every storm, or you can have them come out and treat your property after the larger storms. If you do decide to deal with the snow on your own, follow these preceding tips to stay safe and avoid injuries.
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