It’s March in Maine and winter weather is here again! With that in mind, our friends at SGA Safety Education Services are reminding us that shoveling snow can be dangerous if you are not careful.
Here are some tips and guidelines to consider when engaged in snow removal at work or at home:
- Heart attacks, back/muscle strains, slips, trips, and falls are just a few of the problems attributed to shoveling snow.
- Prepare your muscles before shoveling by doing some light warm ups such as bending side-to-side and walking in place.
- Wear layers of light clothing. Keep synthetic or wool as a first layer.
- Ergonomically-designed shovels can help reduce stress and bending.
- You should never smoke while shoveling. Tobacco smoke constricts blood vessels just as cold air does; the combination can be dangerous.
- Whenever possible, push rather than lift. Pushing can help reduce the strain of your body.
- When lifting, bend your knees and use your legs (not your back), tightening your stomach muscles as you lift.
- Stand with your feet about hip width for balance and keep the shovel close to your body.
- Lighten your load. Consider using a lighter-weight plastic shovel rather than a metal one.
- Avoid twisting movements. If you need to move the snow to one side, reposition your feet to face the direction the snow will be going.
- Pace yourself. Take breaks. Consider taking a break after 20 to 30 minutes, especially if the snow is wet and heavy.
- Stay hydrated. Drink plenty of water. Avoid caffeine if you need a hot drink. Instead, try hot chocolate or herbal tea.
- Most importantly, listen to your body. STOP IF YOU FEEL PAIN and seek medical assistance if needed.