How to Safely Remove Snow from Your Property
Shovels aren’t the only things residents in snowy regions need this winter.
Upwards of 115,000 people were treated in emergency rooms, doctors’ offices or clinics last year as a result of snow removal-related injuries, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.
Before digging out after a snowstorm, the American Association of Orthopaedic Surgeons recommends residents review these safety tips.
- 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. This 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 replenish with fluids to prevent dehydration. If you experience chest pain or shortness of breath, seek immediate emergency care.
- Follow instructions while snow blowing. 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, stop the engine and wait at least five seconds. Consider unplugging 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. Shut off the engine if you must walk away from the machine.