Mélina Lamarche

By Mélina Lamarche

December 17, 2014

Health

Don’t hurt yourself shovelling!

Article revised on 19 June 2017

As Canadians, we’re accustomed to shovelling snow. By shovelling, we can get the car out of the driveway and get outside to our daily routine (work, school, etc.). Research has shown that several injuries are caused by shovelling snow following heavy snowfalls.   Avoid straining or otherwise injuring yourself by using the right technique.

  1. Keep your feet apart, one in front of the other, close to the shovel.
  2. Put your weight on the front foot, and push the shovel with your rear leg. Each scoop of snow should be an amount that you can lift easily.
  3. Shift your weight to your rear foot, keeping the load close to your body.
  4. Turn your feet in the desired direction and toss the snow about three feet away. NEVER turn your trunk or toss the snow to the side or over your shoulder.

A few more safe shovelling tips

  • Push the snow as much as possible, rather than lifting it. Just remember: Wet snow is the heaviest.
  • Don’t overdo! It is better to lift light loads and work at a slow, steady pace.
  • Take frequent breaks, and drink lukewarm fluids for warmth.
  • A good snow shovel is lightweight (about 1.5 kg/3 lb) and has a long handle to spare back strain from bending. Use a shovel that is not too large. The larger the shovel, the more likely you are to have heavier loads.
  • Wear a cap, boots that give you good traction, and gloves that are warm but soft enough to enable you to grip the handle firmly.

Source: www.ccohs.ca (Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety)

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