Recent Blog Post
Tips for Snow Shoveling Safety
Last week, I wrote an article explaining some tips for driving in wintery conditions. Today, I want to talk about ways in which you can prevent injuries when shoveling snow. While shoveling snow might seem like a minor task that you ask your children to take care of or pay your neighbor’s son 5 bucks to do, a lot of accidents can occur when shoveling snow! More than 16,000 Americans are treated each winter for injuries sustained while shoveling snow. Most of these injuries are back injuries, which can be very serious if untreated. In this article, I’ll talk about some simple injury prevention tips, and I’ll also discuss what to do if someone is hurt shoveling snow on your property.
If you’re shoveling snow yourself, or if you hire someone to do it for you, make sure that whoever is taking care of the snow follows these tips:
- Stretch. This might seem silly, but a quick stretch of your back, arms, and legs can loosen up your muscles and prevent strains. Stretching when the job is done is also in your best interest to prevent soreness and potentially injuring yourself in the next few days while doing something else.
- Take breaks. You want to do this to avoid fatigued muscles, as fatigued muscles are more likely to cause strains.
- Use the proper technique. You should bend at your knees and try to use your core instead of your back when shoveling snow. Try to avoid excessive twisting or sudden jerks to prevent strains as well.
- Use the proper tools. Make sure that you use large, sturdy shovels that are meant for snow plowing when shoveling walkways or your driveway.
- Watch your step. Black ice and slippery patches will abound after it has snowed. Make sure that you wear warm boots with good grip on the bottom of them and move slowly when shoveling your driveway.
- If you already have an injury, have someone else shovel for you. If you have even a minor back, ankle, or shoulder injury, you should avoid shoveling snow as this will exacerbate the problem.
- If you have access to a snow blower, you can use this instead of a shovel. However, make sure that you have added fuel before you start the machine, not while it is running, and remain alert while using the machine. Keep small children away from the snow blower and make sure you are alert when using it.
- Frostbite is another injury that can be sustained while shoveling snow. In order to avoid frostbite, it is important to wear light layers and clothes that are water repellent. Never shovel snow without gloves or proper boots on.
If you hire a neighborhood kid to shovel your driveway for you and you have homeowner’s insurance, the policy should cover the costs if he or she is injured on the job. Make sure that you inform friends, family members, or neighbors who are shoveling your driveway for you of the risk of injury and give them these prevention tips to avoid injuries. If someone is injured on your property, you should contact a personal injury lawyer and discuss the situation with him or her.