How To: Shovel Snow
We finally experienced our first snow in the Cincinnati area just the other day. The forecasters are expecting to see several other days of potential snow fall as a possibility which means you might have to shovel snow sooner than you though. We also still have the rest of January, February and maybe March to see a substantial amount of snow fall which will mean more snow to shovel. With freezing temperatures and increased precipitation from the El Nino, the chances seem high. In case it does happen, we want you to be properly prepared in case you or your family members have to shovel snow.
There are various ways to get rid of snow. You could use a snow blower, a plow, a shovel, or you could just let it sit and hope that salt or snow melt works on its own. Whichever method you choose, we want you to know how to use it properly to reap the most benefits possible as well as prevent injury.
Finding the perfect speed is essential to using a snow blower. If you go too slow, there will not be much distance in the arc of the snow. If you go to fast, it could overflow out of the machine. Practice a couple of speed variations to find out what speed is ideal for you and your machine.
To use a snow blower on your driveway, it is ideal to start in the middle. You don’t want snow to be blown over areas you’ve just cleared. Make sure your chute is adjusted towards the best area to blow the snow.
Try to be aware of the injuries that may happen while using a snow blower. In 2012, 3300 snow blower emergencies included finger injuries (including amputations) took place. Along with finger injuries, back and shoulder strain were common concerns too.
Snow shoveling is timely, tedious, and could easily injure you or someone else you know. One key to injury prevention is to make sure you have the right type of snow shovel.
- A high-strength plastic shovel is strong, lightweight and easy to use. They are less likely to free and release snow better than metal shovels. The edges can be worn down though from concrete and rough blacktop. They are also not good for removing ice.
- Steel shovels are extremely durable but can be heavy. They are more expensive but can last for a very long time. They are good for removing snow and ice.
- Aluminum shovels are more durable than plastics and lighter and cheaper than steel. They can bend if they hit a large piece of ice or a crack in the driveway. This makes them very had to repair, leaving then ineffective for shoveling snow.
Clearing snow can pose as a major issue especially if expected snowfall totals are inches or feet. If it’s the middle of the snow storm, you have two options for clearing snow with a shovel: do it inch by inch as it falls or wait and remove it in layers. You should always try to push snow and not lift it. Try to dress appropriately using light, layered, water repellent clothing. Choose gloves that help to keep your hands warm and can prevent blistering. Make sure you can see properly to avoid ice and uneven surfaces. Before starting, make sure you are healthy enough.
Preventing injuries is key to effectively shoveling snow. Did you know that from 1990 to 2006, there were an average of 11,500 injuries that were treated in the ER relating to snow shoveling. 1 in 3 of those injured suffered low back problems. Other problems included injuries to the arms, hands and head. Slips and falls accounted for 1 in 5 injuries and 15% were caused by being struck by a snow shovel.
To prevent snow shoveling injuries, warm-up your muscles, pace yourself, use proper equipment and follow the instructions, practice proper lifting, and don’t twist and turn to prevent back injuries.
If you are interested in using snow shoveling as workout, check out this free snow shoveling calorie counter. It really does work and it helps to also make you aware of the exertion you are putting forth when shoveling snow. Check it out here!
The goal this winter and every winter after is to keep you safe when shoveling snow. If in doubt of your abilities, hire a company to come and clean your driveway. Many landscape companies offer a snow removal service during their off season. If you have family members or neighbors, share the safety tips to help them prevent injuries. Practice these tips for snow blowers and snow shoveling to prevent injuries to yourself. It could save you from being in pain and a potentially dangerous trip to the ER depending on road conditions. Good luck and if you have any other comments or suggestions please let us know in the comments.
Sources: American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, House Logic, Consumer Reports
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