SNOW SHOVELING SAFETY TIPS

Mon March 4, 2013

The National Weather Service has issued a winter storm warning for northern Illinois from 3 a.m. to midnight Tuesday.  Snowfall, which could be heavy at times, is estimated to measure anywhere between 6 to 10 inches. 

As a result of this warning, the DuPage County Health Department is offering some shoveling safety tips for those who will be outside clearing their porches, sidewalks and driveways.

When shoveling:

  • Warm up your muscles. Shoveling can be a vigorous activity. Before you begin, warm up your muscles for 10 minutes with light exercise.
  • Pace yourself. Take frequent breaks and replenish fluids to prevent dehydration. If you experience chest pain, shortness of breath or other signs of a heart attack, seek emergency care.
  • Use a shovel that is comfortable for your height and strength. Do not use a shovel that is too heavy or too long for you. Consider buying a shovel that is specially designed to prevent too much stooping. Space your hands on the tool grip to increase your leverage.
  • When possible, push the snow instead of lifting it. If you must lift, take small amounts of snow, and lift it with your legs: Squat with your legs apart, knees bent and back straight. Lift by straightening your legs, without bending at the waist. Then walk to where you want to dump the snow; holding a shovelful of snow with your arms outstretched puts too much weight on your spine.
  • Do not throw the snow over your shoulder or to the side. This requires a twisting motion that stresses your back.