That first snowfall of the year is a truly beautiful event. But getting back into winter routines and snow removal habits isn’t always the easiest transition. This is a season where a safety-first attitude can save the day.
Shoveling Snow Safety Tips
One of the biggest snow removal tasks is shoveling. In big storms you may find yourself removing snow more than once and that’s okay, as long as you’re doing it safely.
- Get a lightweight shovel that is in good working condition.
- Wear proper breathable clothing and appropriate footwear.
- Before you start to shovel, do some light warm-up exercises to get your body ready.
- Focus on lifting with your legs and not your back. Flipping snow over your shoulder puts more strain on your body than pushing or walking shovelfuls of snow to the side
- Clear the snow early and often; fresh snow is light and fluffy and much easier to shovel than wet, compacted snow.
- Don’t overfill your shovel; fill it with a moderate amount of snow that is not too heavy.
- Pace yourself; try shoveling for 15 minutes and then taking a short break to rest and relax for 5 minutes and keep yourself hydrated with plenty of water.
- Use your legs not your back to lift; bend your knees, keep the back straight and lift using your legs.
- Try pushing the snow instead of lifting it.
- Use proper body mechanics when throwing the snow; don’t throw the snow to the side or above the shoulder, rather keep all of your lifting directly in front of your body.
- When you have removed enough snow to hit pavement, work to prevent ice from forming by scattering sand, salt or kitty litter.
- As soon as the snowplow comes, pick up your shovel; the longer you wait, the more packed the snow and ice becomes.
Snow Blower Safety Tips
- Know your blower. If the snow blower is new, read the instructions so you know what to expect. Even if you’ve had this snow blower for a while, it’s always a good idea to refresh yourself when winter rolls around.
- Fuel before. The safest approach to adding fuel is to do it before you begin working. Adding fuel to a hot or running engine should always be avoided.
- Keep hands and feet out of the blower. If the chute gets clogged, turn off the snow blower and give it time to come to a complete rest. Then use a solid object (stick or snow scraper) to unclog it.
One last tip that’s a great one for the whole season — no matter what you’re doing. Have your phone handy so you can call or text if you need help. Remember, safety-first for a happy winter season!
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