Safe snow shoveling requires proper preparation, good technique and knowledge.

Preparation

  • Warm up and stretch prior to shoveling.
  • Think Twice if you:
    • Have had a heart attack or have other forms of heart disease.
    • Have had a heart attack or have other forms of heart disease.
    • Have high blood pressure or high cholesterol levels.
    • Are a heavy smoker.
    • Lead a sedentary lifestyle.
  • Consider hiring a student or using a volunteer service if you are a senior.
  • Shovel at least 1-2 hours after eating and avoid caffeine and nicotine.
  • Warm up first (walk or march in place for several minutes before beginning).
  • Start slow and continue at a slow pace (Suggestion: shovel for 5-7 minutes and rest 2-3 minutes).
  • Drink lots of water to prevent dehydration.
  • Shovel early and often – New snow is lighter than heavily packed snow.

Photo by Filip Mroz on Unsplash

Technique

Protect your back by lifting properly and safely:

  • Stand with feet at hip width apart for balance.
  • Hold the shovel close to your body.
  • Space hands apart to increase leverage.
  • Bend from your knees not your back.
  • Tighten your stomach muscles when lifting.
  • Avoid twisting while lifting.
  • Walk to dump snow rather than throwing it.

And remember: 

  • Always try to push snow rather than lifting.

  • When snow is deep, shovel small amounts (1-2 inches at a time) at a time.
  • If the ground is icy or slippery, spread salt, sand, or kitty litter to create better traction.

Knowledge

  • Shoveling snow is strenuous activity that is very stressful on the heart.
  • Exhaustion makes you more susceptible to frostbite, injury and hypothermia.
  • Stop shoveling and call 911 if you have:
    • Discomfort or heaviness in the chest, arms or neck.
    • Unusual or prolonged shortness of breath.
    • A dizzy or faint feeling.
    • Excessive sweating or nausea.

    Our approach to safety, guided by our core values, make a difference and help to build a better future!

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