I recently did tips on carrying heavy objects. Today I want to discuss some do’s and don’ts about snow shoveling. Every year, scary data or articles releases about injuries and disabilities due to snow shoveling. Just carrying heavy wet snow itself is bad. But here, I am talking about carrying and moving this snow for an hour or two a day and for a few months during winter (depending on your geographical area). A study looking at data from 1990 to 2006 by researchers at the US Nationwide Children’s Hospital recorded 1,647 fatalities from cardiac-related injuries associated with shoveling snow. In Canada, these deaths make the news every winter. Snow shoveling is particularly strenuous because it uses arm work, which is more taxing than leg work. Straining to move wet and heavy snow is particularly likely to cause a surge in heart rate and blood pressure.
Good thing is, we can prevent this from happening just by changing our position and using appropriate protective devices.
Tips on Do’s and Don’ts While Snow Shoveling:
- Push and don’t lift the weight
- Always use the wind in your favor
- Stay hydrated
- Take frequent rest breaks during shoveling. Pay attention to how your body feels.
- Wear good boots: a pair of insulated and water resistant boots with good rubber treads is a must for walking or during cleaning snow. Some examples:
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- Wear breathable layers.
- Don’t eat a heavy meal prior to or soon after shoveling. This can put an extra load on your heart
- Consider a snowblower and invest in electronic one if possible.
- Use a small shovel. Lifting heavy snow can raise blood pressure acutely during the lift. It is safer to lift smaller amounts more times.
By clearing walkways of snow & ice
Spread deicer as quickly as possible.
Walk at a slower pace and take short steps.
React quickly to a change in traction.
Keep your arms at your sides for better balance. That means no cell phones while walking in the snow!
Watch where you are stepping.
It is already difficult to maintain balance and stay safe on icy or untreated snowy roads. It is even more challenging for people with compromised balance. These are a few tips that can help prevent falls and injuries in this weather. Remember, prevention is always better than cure!!
So this summaries our part 3 of the proper ergonomics series. Stay tuned for some tips on driving ergonomics.