Snow Removal Safety

snow removal bieritzWe have been very fortunate in our region this year to have not had any significant snowfall so far this winter.  But, as we all know – those days are coming!  Our favorite snow-shoveling days are the ones where each morning, there is only a tiny layer of new snow – light and powdery enough that all you need is a once over with a broom to sweep it clear.  If we are lucky, we will have more than a few of those kinds of snowfalls this winter.  Inevitably though, as part of the winter mix, we will end up with some accumulations of wetter snow that will require actual shoveling. Keep in mind some of the following safety tips for when this occurs.  

First, make sure you are able to safely shovel – if you have back problems or a heart condition, you might want to check with your doctor first, or consider finding someone to hire for the task.  Some landscaping companies will contract with you for snow clearing services through the winter months or if you know any local youths, they might be interested in an extra few dollars in their pockets.   

If you are able to shovel, before you go out make sure you are dressed properly – with layers of clothing, warm socks, hat, gloves and shoes that offer traction on slippery surfaces.  Take a few moments to limber up as well to warm your muscles for the task. Remember to take breaks frequently and stay well-hydrated.  If you experience any pain while shoveling, you should stop immediately.  

Choosing the right tool for the job is likely one of the most important things you can do to prevent injury and strain.  A plastic small-bladed shovel with a curved handle is best.  The curved handle helps you to keep your back straighter while shoveling and the small blade assures that you won’t be lifting too much snow at a time.  It is better to push snow rather than lift it when possible which is why it is recommended to shovel more frequently to clear new snow than to wait until the storm ends and clear it all at once.  One large shovelful of snow can weigh 25 pounds! 

You can increase your leverage while shoveling by keeping your hands at least a foot apart on the shovel.  If you need to lift snow, remember to remove it in smaller shovelfuls and use your legs to lift and move  – try to avoid twisting.

Our team at Bieritz Insurance wishes you a wonderful and safe winter season, free from injuries and with only the amount of snow you can handle!