How to shovel snow safely

14 03 2013

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Image from Flickr Creative Commons via Mash Down Babylon

Now that the winter has well and truly descended upon us, you could be forgiven for wanting to crawl back into bed and shut yourself away from the world for the next few months. However, this is a luxury denied to the vast majority of us. Indeed, millions of us will have to continue fighting our way through the cold, ice and snow, one way or another. But before you whip your snow shovel out and get to work, you should think carefully. As tempting as it might be to simply get stuck in, you should remember that there are injury risks associated with this particular task – so should you end up doing yourself a mischief, you could find yourself laid up for an extended period. This is an inconvenience relatively few of us can afford at the current juncture.

According to an article from eHow.com, you’ll need to ensure that your snow shovel is up to the job before you start digging away. You should also be careful not to over-exert yourself. Think about your own physical condition before you get started. Shovelling snow can be hard work, particularly if there’s ice underneath it – so there’s a real risk that you could end up getting yourself injured. Be careful not to take any excessive risks. If, for example, you have a pre-existing health problem – such as a heart condition – your best bet is to simply avoid shovelling snow altogether.

As a priority, you’ll need to clear the snow from your driveway, any footpaths leading to your home and whatever other areas you’ll need to provide access. Make sure that you clear the snow thoroughly and chip away at any ice which may be lurking underneath – if you don’t get rid of this as well, you could end up suffering some sort of accident. Once you’re happy that you’ve cleared the snow away, it might be a good idea to lay some rock salt down to avoid re-icing.

An article from Popularmechanics.com also makes a number of suggestions for staying safe when shovelling snow. It might be a good idea to perform a few moderate stretches before you go out, so that you’re properly limbered up. Should you simply get stuck straight in, you may end up injuring yourself, so you need to think about the pace at which you work. In addition, you should think about where you’re going to dump the snow before you get started. It makes sense to work in the direction of your chosen dumping ground, so that you have less of a distance to travel.

Also, try to maintain the proper posture when you’re shovelling the snow. Use your shoulder and leg muscles as much as possible, and hold the shovel as close to your body as you can. Make sure you keep your back straight as you move from the squat position to the upright position, or else you may strain it. You should also take care to avoid twisting your upper body as you throw the snow, because this may cause you an injury of some sort.

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