Snow Shoveling Safety Tips

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Shoveling snow is far from fun, but for residents of New England it is an unavoidable winter chore. Not only is shoveling monotonous, it is a physically demanding job which many people cannot handle. In fact, more than 11,000 people are hospitalized every year due to accidents caused from shoveling snow, including overworked or pulled muscles, falling, and even getting hit in the head with a shovel.

Use these tips during the next snowstorm to keep your shoveling experience as safe as possible:

  • Warm up your muscles. Shoveling is a physical activity, and it should be treated as such. Before getting started, warm up with a light exercise, such as walking in place or jumping jacks. Be sure to adequately stretch the muscles in your lower back, arms, and legs.

  • Dress in layers. Snow shoveling is enough work to build up a sweat, even in subzero temperatures. Dressing in layers protects you from the frigid weather, but also allows you to shed an article of clothing or two if you become too hot. Don’t forget the hat and gloves.

  • Wear slip-resistant shoes. You are likely to experience slippery conditions while shoveling, so it is important to stay on your feet. Equip yourself with slip-resistant snow boots to help avoid a painful fall.

  • Know your limits. It is important to know your personal boundaries while shoveling, and make sure not to exceed them. If you feel yourself running out of breath or becoming dizzy because you are working too hard, take a five minute rest.

  • Switch your shovel. A good carpenter never blames his tools, but your shovel could be the main reason you are experiencing back pain. Help yourself out by investing in one of these ergonomically-friendly shovels.

  • Push, don’t lift. A full blade of snow can weigh north of 30 pounds, and lifting shovel-full after shovel-full isn’t doing your back any favors. Push the snow off to the side instead of lifting it whenever possible.

  • Sweat the technique. When it comes to shoveling, technique is everything. Remember some of the following points: lift with your legs, not your back; keep one hand on the handle and the other as close to the blade as comfortably possible; pivot your whole body when tossing snow, don’t just twist your back.

The heating experts at Devine Bros. have been keeping southern Connecticut warm for almost 100 years. If you need help with your home’s heating system, including new furnace installation, repair, or heating oil delivery, give us a call at (203) 866-4421.

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