Tips for Safe Snow Shovelling

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Snow clearing, much more than other household tasks, carries risks of injury if it is not done properly. If you want to know how to remove snow safely, read on.

Snow Clearing

  • Like with any exercise, stretch to warm up your muscles before you start. If you skip this, you may strain muscles that are still cold and stiff.

  • Clear snow often when the ground covering is still light and dry. Heavy, wet packed snow is much harder to clean.

  • Wear boots with slip-resistant soles to prevent falls. Also wear a head covering, thick socks, layered clothing and gloves.

  • Use a shovel that is an appropriate size for your height and weight. If it is too long and heavy, you might hurt yourself or lose control of it and fall. Moreover, a smaller plastic blade is lighter and will prevent you from trying to move too much per stroke. If the handle is not curved, you will probably have to bend your back to push, so replace it with a curved one.

  • Place your hands at least eight centimetres apart on the handle. This distributes the weight better and thereby places less strain on your back.

  • Look out for ice patches over which you might trip.

  • Push rather than lift the snow. This is less likely to cause injuries. Keep your back almost straight and bend your knees slightly. To do it safely, you want your legs to take some of your weight. Your back should not carry all of it.

  • If you have to lift the snow, squat while keeping your back straight. Then scoop up small amounts of snow, straighten your legs and walk the snow to where you want to dump it. Do not throw the snow from the shovel; you might hurt your back. It is important to keep your back straight and lift yourself up with your legs.

  • Rest regularly and drink water to prevent yourself from dehydrating.

  • If you have a snowblower, keep your body away from moving parts until it has been stopped for a few seconds. Do not touch the hot engine. Clear the snow from the hatch with any solid object.

  • Use a snowblower or delegate the task to someone else if you have a history of heart disease.

Think of snow removal as a replacement gym workout.  Following these safety tips may also keep you injury free.