With the recent snowfall, its time to dig out those shovels or snow blowers. Before you do it is important that you keep in mind these tips to help prevent injuries.
General Safety Tips
General Safety Tips
- Talk with your doctor. Since shovelling places high stress on the heart, you should always speak with your doctor first. If you have a medical condition or do not exercise regularly, consider hiring someone to remove the snow.
- Dress appropriately. Light, layered, water-repellent clothing with proper hand and head coverings is utmost important. Consider wearing warm socks to keep your feet warm and wear shoes or boots that have slip-resistant soles.
- Start early. Try to clear snow early and often. Begin shoveling/snowblowing when a light covering of snow is on the ground to avoid dealing with packed, heavy snow.
- Clear vision. Be sure you can see what you are shoveling/snowblowing. Do not let a hat or scarf block your vision. Watch for ice patches and uneven surfaces.
- Warm-up your muscles. Shovelling can be a vigorous activity and therefor your muscles need to be warm before you begin. Warm up with light exercises and stretches for 10 minutes.
- Pace yourself. Take frequent breaks and prevent dehydration by drinking plenty of fluids. If you start to experience shortness of breath, pain or any other unusual symptoms, stop immediately and consider having someone else finish the job.
- Proper equipment. Use a shovel that is comfortable for your height and strength. Do not use a shovel that is too heavy or too long for you. Space your hands on the shovel to increase your leverage.
- Proper lifting. Try to push the snow instead of lifting it. If you must lift, do it properly. Squat with your legs apart, knees bent, and back straight. Lift with your legs. Do not bend at the waist. Scoop small amounts of snow into the shovel and walk to where you want to dump it. Holding a shovelful of snow with your arms outstretched puts too much weight on your spine. Never remove deep snow all at once.
- Safe technique. Do not throw the snow over your shoulder or to the side. This requires a twisting motion that stresses your back.
Tips for Snowblowing
- Proper supervision. Do not leave the snow blower unattended when it is running. Be sure to shut it off before walking away.
- Safe fueling. Add any fuel before you start up your snowblower. Never add fuel when the engine is running or hot.
- Avoid the engine. Stay away from the engine. It can become very hot and burn unprotected flesh.
- Watch the snowblower cord. If you are operating an electric snow blower, be aware of where the power cord is at all times.
- No tampering. Do not remove safety devices, shields, or guards on switches, and keep hands and feet away from moving parts. Safety parts are there for a reason, leave them!
- Watch for motor recoil. Beware of the brief recoil of motor and blades that occurs after the machine has been turned off.
- Keep children away. Never let children operate snowblowers. Keep children 15 years of age and younger away when snowblowers are in use.
- Never stick your hands in the snowblower! If snow jams the snowblower, stop the engine and wait more than 5 seconds. Use a solid object to clear wet snow or debris from the chute. Beware of the recoil of the motor and blades after the machine has been turned off.
- Understand your machine. Be familiar with the specific safety hazards and unfamiliar features.