Each year, close to 12,000 people suffer preventable injuries, just from shoveling snow.(1) These simple tips will help you avoid injuries while shoveling out from our the recent 40 cm snow fall!
Tip #1 — Proper Removal of the snow
- Push the snow instead of lifting and/or carrying it.
- If you must lift, only lift small shovel loads at a time The Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety says you should not lift more than 10 to 15 pounds of snow at a time.
- To avoid twisting your body or throwing the snow walk a few steps to drop the snow.
Tip #2 — Proper Positioning
- Point you feet toward the shovel to avoid twisting your back when lifting.
- Do not reach out with with your shovel, be close to the snow so not to stress your back muscles.
- A more stable stance is achieved with one foot forward and one foot back.
- Lift with your legs and not with your back by bending through your knees and hips.
Tip #3 — Timing
- Shovel often!. Did you know? Light snow weighs about three pounds per cubic foot while packed snow weighs 30 pounds per cubic foot!
- Take your time and take rest breaks. Injuries are more likely to happen when you are in a rush.
Before your start:
- Is it safe for you to shovel snow?
- Talk to your family doctor to make sure it’s okay for you to shovel snow. Remember, shoveling snow is vigorous exercise.
- Dress appropriately.
- Take a few minutes to warm up before tackling heavy snow.
- Using the right size shovel is critical to injury free shoveling.(2)
Other Things to consider…
- Listen to your body. If you start to feel sore or tired, your body is trying to tell you it has reached its limit for the day.
- Get help or arrange for a snow-removal service. Snow shoveling is very demanding. Extra help can make the task easier, more enjoyable and less stressful
LiquidGym can help with getting you back to feeling like you can tackle any snow mound!
Give us a call to book an appointment with our
physiotherapist or kinesiology and athletic therapist!
- Daniel S. Watson et al, “Snow shovel-related injuries and medical emergencies treated in US EDs, 1990 to 2006,” American Journal of Emergency Medicine, volume 29, issue 1 (March 29, 2010), 11-17. Found at https://www.ajemjournal.com/article/S0735-6757(09)00371-4/fulltext (January 24, 2021).
- André Gauvin and Trevor Schell, webinar: “Be Winter Ready: Working in the Cold & the Ergonomics of Snow Removal,” December 18, 2020. Found at https://www.ohcow.on.ca/news/webinar-be-winter-ready.html (January 24, 2021).
- Government of Canada, Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety, “Shovelling Snow: OSH Answers Fact Sheets. Found at https://www.ccohs.ca/oshanswers/ergonomics/snow_shovelling.html (January 24, 2021).
Edited By LiquidGym December 16, 2022
Originally created by Emma Lis