Shoveling tips to avoid injury

With snowy weather comes a dreaded winter chore – shoveling. Some look at it as a form of exercise, but if not done safely, you can run the risk of getting injured.

According to a national study*, the most common shoveling-related injuries were to the lower back. Cardiac-related injuries account for only 7 percent of all injuries, but they were the most serious in nature. If you have any health conditions, such as heart disease, high blood pressure, etc., you should get your doctor’s approval before shoveling.

When planning to shovel, these tips can help keep you safer, and maybe make this winter chore more enjoyable:

  • Warm your muscles before heading out to shovel by doing some light movement, such as stretching or walking in place.
  • Pace yourself and be sure to take frequent breaks. 
  • Try pushing the snow using the shovel instead of lifting – this can help reduce the strain on your body.
  • Choose your shovel wisely. Ergonomically designed shovels can help reduce the amount of bending.
  • Consider using a lighter weight plastic shovel instead of a metal one to decrease the effort when moving the snow.
  • When time allows, try to avoid large snow removal jobs by shoveling periodically throughout the day.
  • Try to shovel snow when it is lighter and fluffier. The longer snow stays on the ground, the wetter it can become. Wet snow is heavier and harder to move.
  • Dress in layers – this can help you maintain a comfortable body temperature.
  • Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated while shoveling.

Snow and ice removal requirements
Snow and ice do not only pose a potential risk to you, but to others are well. As a property owner, you are responsible for making a reasonable effort in keeping these areas clear of snow and ice. Pre-treating your walkways and other paved surfaces with an anti-icing product can help make snow and ice removal easier.

Be sure to check your local codes and ordinances regarding snow and ice removal requirements.

Take action during winter weather

What to do when winter wonderlands turn into storms.

How to help stay safe during a snow storm >

How can you prepare for winter?

Find tips to help keep you safe >

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