Safety, Health, Environment & Risk Management
Ergonomic Tips for Safe Snow Shoveling
The snow is here! Every year people injure their backs when they shovel snow - especially for the first time.
Watch this video that explains how to safely shovel - Snow Shoveling Ergonomics Dr. Craig Rubenstein
Here are some TIPS on SAFE snow shoveling:
· Warm up your muscles - especially if you are shovelling first thing in the morning.
· Be prepared - use an appropriate size shovel. Do not use a shovel that can hold more snow than you can handle.
· Try to shovel snow when it first falls - lighter snow means less weight for your back to lift.
· Wear gloves that provide you with a good grip on the handle of the shovel. If your hands slip, you will be required to use more grip force to hold the shovel.
· Alternate your hand positions on the handle to spread the work between both arms.
Push snow that is not too deep to where you want to put it - then lift it.
· Do not pile snow above shoulder height. Lifting above shoulder height greatly increases the risk of injury and also can lead to safety issues due to limited visibility in small spaces / driveways.
· When spreading salt, use a wheeled device or carry small amounts.
· Drink water and take rest breaks if you are shoveling for longer periods of time.
· Do not twist your back, move your feet.
· MOST IMPORTANT - bend your knees and lift with the larger muscles in your upper thighs.
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