Every year thousands of people are injured while shoveling snow. Strains and sprains of the back and shoulders are most common, but shoveling can also lead to slips and falls on icy walkways. These tips and resources can help your employees stay safe while shoveling this winter.
Eliminate Shoveling When Possible
When possible, skip the manual snow removal by using plows, snow blowers or power brooms. These time savers can eliminate many of the injury risks associated with shoveling.
Shovel Early and Often
Don't wait until the snow has become packed down or piled up. Start shoveling early when snow is still light and manageable.
Practice Good Form
Instead of lifting snow up, try to push the snow forward as if the shovel is a plow blade. Don't throw snow over your shoulder or to the side, as this requires a dangerous twisting motion. Walk the snow to your desired location and drop it.
Use a Smaller Shovel
A smaller blade limits the amount of snow that can be lifted at once, putting less strain on the body. To reduce snow buildup, periodically spray the blade with a silicone-based lubricant or furniture polish.
Choose Footwear Carefully
To prevent slips
, employees working outside in winter weather should wear boots with a rubber or neoprene sole and deep treads for traction. Slip-on ice cleats can also be helpful, though these need to be removed before coming inside.
Take Care of Yourself While Shoveling
Shoveling snow is a physically demanding task. Individuals who are usually sedentary or have a medical condition may not be the best choice for shoveling duties. While shoveling, dress in layers and start slowly, taking time to stretch as you warm up. Take breaks when needed and stay hydrated.
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