Snow Removal Safety Tips

Snow Removal Safety Tips bb3 Dec 12, 2014

By Staff Writer

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Canadians are no strangers to snow and snow removal. Yet each year many sustain injuries from the common winter chore. Reduce your injury risk with these shovelling and snow blowing basics.

Snow Removal Safety Tips

Suitable Attire

Make sure to dress appropriately: Wear layers of cotton or silk, as they allow your skin to breathe. Also be sure to wear warm, water-resistant boots that provide plenty of traction.

Proper Technique

The Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS) recommends shovelling snow at a rate of 15 scoops per minute for no longer than 15 minutes at a time. Follow with up to 15 minutes of rest. Here are more strategies for safer shovelling:

  • Start by stretching your leg, arm and back muscles.

  • To minimize strain on your body, select a shovel that weighs about 1.5 kg. Look for a handle thatís about chest height ó so you donít have to bend over to reach the ground ó and a small blade to prevent overloading the shovel.

  • Shovel when snow is fresh, as it will be lighter.

  • Always push snow rather than lift it.

  • If you must lift snow, use a smaller shovel and lift with your thighs.

  • Avoid twisting your body when throwing snow. Instead, keep the load close to your body and move your feet toward the destination.

  • Alternate your hand positioning to distribute the snowís weight between both arms.

  • Donít pile snow above shoulder height. This can increase the risk of muscle injury and reduce visibility for drivers and pedestrians.

Snow Blower Safety

Be sure you understand how these machines work before operating, and remember these tips to get the job done safely:

  • Remove any rocks, sticks and other debris from the area youíre plowing.
  • Keep others clear of the 15-metre danger zone around the machine while itís running.
  • Turn off the snow blower before checking or clearing a blocked chute.
  • Wear earplugs to help prevent hearing loss.
  • Never start the machine indoors.