Snow is here and it may be around for a while, especially when you consider it’s not even officially winter and we’ve had several rounds of snowfall. So if you haven’t had to shovel yet, you may find yourself shoveling snow quite a bit this winter. And if you do, here are few tips to make it safer and more efficient. But first, here’s an interesting fact. According to a 2011 issue of the American Journal of Emergency Medicine, more than 11,000 people go to the hospital every year due to snow shoveling injuries. So let’s avoid adding any more injuries to that list.
Don’t move snow twice
Before your shovel even hits the snow, assess the work area. Look for areas to put the snow as you push it. For driveways, you can typically push snow to the edges, but other spaces, like patios, or sidewalks lined with landscaping, may not have that sort of space. Regardless, don’t move snow more than you have to. The idea is to move the snow once and be done with it.
Move snow the shortest distance possible
Divide each space you need to clear in half. If it’s a driveway, push your shovel down the middle creating two equal spaces. Then work from the center pushing snow to the edges of the work area.
Maintain proper posture:
- Use your legs – push snow whenever possible and only lift when necessary.
- Keep your back straight as you move from the squat position to the upright position.
- Hold the snow shovel as close to your body as possible.
- Keep one hand close to the shovel blade for better leverage.
- Don’t twist your upper body as you throw snow. Move your feet and face your entire body in the direction you want to throw the snow.
Don’t over do it. Stop and rest anytime you feel the need and if at any time it hurts, stop and take a break. That includes shortness of breath or even chest pains.
Dress warmly and in layers
Dressing too warmly can make you sweat, causing you to overheat. So dress in layers. Peel off a layer each time you feel too warm, ensuring you keep your extremities, like hands and ears covered at all times.
Don’t overdo the de-icer
Once the area is clear, all you need is a thin scattering of de-icer to keep it that way. If you’re spreading by hand, avoid piles and throw the granules low along the ground so they spread into a thin layer. Learn more about de-icers here.