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Snow Shoveling Safety Tips

The winter snow season is swiftly approaching, with the likelihood that you will be shoveling snow at home and at work.  In addition to being a necessity for many at home, shoveling snow can be a great aerobic activity, if performed correctly. If you shovel snow incorrectly, you could end up with injuries that may last far longer than the snow itself.

Following are some snow shoveling safety tips:

  • Do some stretching and warm-ups before starting.

  • Get a long-handled shovel designed for pushing the snow whenever possible, rather than lifting it. This will help you stand more upright and use your stronger leg muscles instead of stressing your back.

  • If you must lift snow, use a short-handle shovel to keep the weight closer to your

  • body. This will allow you to use your leg muscles and keep your back as straight as possible. If you only have a long handled shovel, adjust your grip accordingly.

  • Get as close as possible to the snow you’re shoveling - the further away you have to reach the greater the risk to your back.

  • Take smaller amounts on the shovel, even if that makes the job longer.

  • Do not twist and turn with the shovel loaded with snow. Move your feet and turn

  • your entire body in the direction you are tossing the snow.

  • Watch out for protruding objects or uneven surfaces where you are shoveling to prevent an injury.

  • Alternate your stance periodically by putting a different foot forward or switching hands.

  • Keep your chest up to help stay in a more upright position.

  • Take frequent breaks and drink plenty of water. When you are shoveling for a few hours, you will get dehydrated without realizing it.

  • During a major snow event, consider breaking the job down into sections, taking

  • long breaks between sections.

  • If you experience any chest pains, STOP immediately. Your body is telling you to stop.  After shoveling, treat any soreness or injuries (except for frostbite) by applying ice for 15 minutes, then off for one hour.  Do not take a hot bath. This will increase the area of soreness and swelling.

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