Snow Shoveling Tips to Reduce Your Risk of Injury

With snowy weather comes, for some, a dreaded winter chore – shoveling. While some people look at it as a form of exercise, if not done safely, shoveling can increase your 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 or high blood pressure, you should check with your doctor before doing any strenuous shoveling.

The following tips can help keep you safer when you set out to shovel:

  • Warm your muscles before heading out to shovel by doing some light movement, such as stretching or walking.
  • Pace yourself and be sure to take frequent breaks. 
  • Pushing the snow with the shovel instead of lifting can help reduce the strain on your body.
  • Choose your shovel wisely. Ergonomically designed shovels can help reduce the amount of bending you have to do.
  • Consider using a lighter-weight plastic shovel instead of a metal one to help decrease the weight that is being lifted.
  • Consider shoveling periodically throughout the storm to avoid having to move large amounts of snow at once.
  • Try to shovel snow shortly after it falls, 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 and remove them as you get warm to help maintain a comfortable body temperature.
  • Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated while shoveling.

Snow and Ice Removal Requirements

Snow and ice not only pose a potential risk to you but also to others. As a property owner, you are responsible for making a reasonable effort to keep public walking areas around your property 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.

Stay safe during a snow storm

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