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Snow Shoveling Safety

Snow shoveling safety CHCRR

Did you know that according to the National Safety Council, nationwide, snow shoveling is responsible for thousands of injuries and as many as 100 deaths each year?

With all the heavy wet snow we’ve received in Central and Southern Vermont over the past few weeks during “Sno-vember” it is time to remember some important snow shoveling safety tips – especially for the first few shoveling sessions of the season.

One of the key reasons there are so many injuries and deaths is due to jumping outside after a snowfall and moving hundreds (or thousands) of pounds of snow after little physical activity through the Fall months. Even guiding a snow blower can be strenuous physical activity depending on the depth of the snow, how cold it is outdoors, and your own physical condition.

Cold weather can increase heart rate and blood pressure. It can make blood clot more easily and constrict arteries, which decreases blood supply. This is true even in healthy people. Individuals over the age of 40 or who are relatively inactive should be particularly careful.

Here are some recommended tips for shoveling safely:Snow shoveling safety

  • Do not shovel after eating or while smoking
  • Take it slow and stretch out before you begin
  • When possible, push the snow rather than lifting it
  • If you do lift it, only partially fill the shovel
  • Lift with your legs, not your back
  • Do not work to the point of exhaustion

Don’t pick up that shovel without a doctor’s permission if you have a history of heart disease. If you feel tightness in the chest or dizziness, stop immediately. A clear walkway or driveway is not worth your life.

If you are using a snow blower, remember these safety tips:

  • If it jams turn it off!
  • Always keep your hands away from the moving parts
  • Never drink alcohol before using the snow blower
  • Be aware of the carbon monoxide risk of running a snow blower in an enclosed space like a carport or under a deck. Make sure there is an adequate supply of fresh air.
  • Refuel your snow blower only while turned off, never when it is running

Stay safe out there and enjoy the beautiful snow rather than having it put you in the hospital.

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