Each year too many people are treated for snow-removal related injuries. From broken bones, torn muscles and twisted ligaments that may take years to heal, IKO would like to share some snow removal safety tips. Practice proper safety procedures to prevent a trip to the emergency room.
Most important tip before tackling snow removal is to warm up first. Stretch your muscles for about 10 minutes and make sure to include your legs, arms, stomach, shoulder and back. These warm ups will increase your blood flow and get your heart pumping to help avoid injuries and heart attacks. Be careful not to overexert yourself. Pace and take breaks as often as needed. Go back indoors from time to time to warm up. Pay attention to the signals your body may be sending.
Dressing appropriately is the next important tip. Consider the weather outside before grabbing a shovel and heading out. Wearing layers is best. This allows you to remove clothing if you become too hot. Do wear warm socks and waterproof boots with slip-resistant soles. Hats, gloves, scarves and mittens are essential to prevent frostbite by covering exposed skin. Wearing sunglasses is a good idea as the sun on white snow is blinding and this will protect your eyes.
Hydration, hydration, hydration! Drink plenty of water before you head outside. Take a bottle of water or thermos with you when you head out. Dehydration happens frequently as there is less moisture in the air when the temperatures are below freezing.
Remove snow when it accumulates to 2 inches. It is much easier to remove 2 inches of snow 10 times than it is to remove 10 inches of snow one time. Keeping the shovel on the ground and pushing the snow is the best way to remove snow. If you have to lift, use your legs and avoid twisting with your lower back. Do not throw the shovelfuls of snow over your shoulder or to the side. Instead, carry them to where you want to place the snow. Keeping these tips in mind will help reduce stress placed on your back and spine.
If you’re using a snow blower, keep your hands and feet away from the moving parts at all times, never remove the shields or guards and turn the engine off if the snow blower ever jams. Only clean it out when the engine is off. Always keep a good line of visibility and never leave a running blower unattended.
If you are dealing with ice it is important to keep these safety tips in mind. Pay close attention to your footing. Black ice can be especially difficult to see, but it can form on decks, patios, driveways and stairs. Widen your stance to help balance your weight on slippery surfaces. Putting down kitty litter or some other traction material before you walk on the ice will help you walk safely to your destination. If you are choosing a chemical product, please read the labels carefully. Rock salt is very effective to melt the ice however it can cause damage to concrete and metal surfaces. It is also harmful to plants. Magnesium Chloride is less corrosive. Whatever you decide remember to always follow the product’s application and safety labels before using them.
Think safety next time it snows. IKO wants you to have a safe and fun winter!