As anyone who lives in a snowy climate can attest, snow shoveling is hard work. But not everyone knows that it also can be dangerous work. Read on for tips on how to keep the walkway and driveway clear safely.
Stay ahead of the storm. Rather than shoveling everything all at once when the storm ends, shovel frequently as the snow falls. Doing a small job frequently is much easier on the body than doing one big job all at once.
Limber up. Shoveling is a workout and should be treated as such. Muscles should be warmed up before the shoveling begins because its easier to hurt cold, tight muscles than warm muscles that are ready to stretch. It's also important to stay hydrated while shoveling. Shovelers might not feel thirsty in negative temperatures, but the body needs water and it's important to take frequent sips while shoveling.
Pay attention. Shovelers should pay close attention to their surroundings. Sometimes people can become so focused on the task at hand that they fail to pay attention to cars that could slide into a walkway and cause an injury. Shovelers also should watch out for ice patches. Nothing can end a shoveling session -- or maybe a whole season of shoveling sessions -- faster than a slip-and-fall accident.
Dress properly. Shovelers should wear light, breathable layers that can be shed as the job heats up. A cotton t-shirt under a thermal shirt under a sweatshirt under a windbreaker is the perfect way to dress the upper body. Shoes should be sturdy and warm with deep treads that can help prevent slipping.
Shovel properly. There is a proper technique for shoveling. Keep hands about 12 inches apart on the snow shovel handle to provide the most possible leverage. Try to push the snow rather than lift it. A shovelful of wet, heavy snow can weigh more than 20 pounds! Try to choose a shovel tall enough that the shoveler doesn't have to bend too much in order to shovel. This helps prevent strain on the spine.
Don't do it! Some people should avoid shoveling entirely. People with heart trouble, pregnant women, or people who are unsteady on their feet and in danger of slipping fall into this category. These people are better off investing in good snow blowers from a company like ProCore Power Equipment LLC, or paying the neighborhood kid or a professional to take over the shoveling for the season.