Removing snow isn't as simple as it sounds, especially if you want to prevent injuries. Before you start digging out after a snowstorm, the American Association of Orthopedic Surgeons recommends you review these safety tips.
- Use the shovel to push snow instead of lifting it. If you must lift, take small amounts of snow and lift it with your legs: squat with your legs apart, knees bent and back straight. Lift by straightening your legs, without bending at the waist.
- Do not throw the snow over your shoulder or to the side. Throwing requires a twisting motion that puts stress on your back. Instead, walk to where you want to dump the snow.
- Clear snow early and often. Begin when a light covering of snow is on the ground to avoid having to clear packed, heavy snow.
- Pace yourself. Take frequent breaks and drink plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration. If you experience chest pain or shortness of breath, seek immediate emergency care.
- When snow blowing, follow instructions carefully. Prior to operating a snow blower, read the instruction manual for specific safety hazards, unfamiliar features, or for repair and maintenance.
- Never stick your hands or feet in the snow blower. If snow becomes impacted, turn off the engine or unplug the snow blower. Use a solid object to clear wet snow or debris from the chute. Beware of the recoil of the motor and blades after the machine has been turned off.
- Do not leave the snow blower unattended when it is running. Always shut off the engine if you must walk away from the machine.