Even though there has not been very much snow this winter, it is important to remember shoveling and snowblowing safety, especially with the temperatures dropping. According to CBS News, researchers have found that the energy used to shovel snow is comparable to the amount of energy needed to play an active round of singles tennis or to speed walk at five miles per hour. Like any physical activity, there is the potential for injury while shoveling snow. More than 200,000 people were treated in emergency rooms, doctors’ offices, and clinics for injuries that happened while shoveling or manually removing snow, reports the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons. Furthermore, there are around 100 deaths every year from shoveling, according to the National Safety Council. Using a snowblower can be dangerous too. More than 25,000 people were injured using snowblowers, according to the AAOS. Here are some tips to help you safely shovel or snowblow this winter.
If you are inactive and have a history of heart trouble, talk to your doctor before you start shoveling snow, recommends CBS News. If you are healthy enough to shovel, make sure that you warm up your muscles before you begin. You should take a few minutes to walk or march in place. Additionally, stretch the muscles in your arms and legs so you can work more efficiently and be more likely to avoid injury. Avoid stimulants, like caffeine or nicotine, because they increase your heart rate and cause your blood vessels to constrict, placing extra stress on your heart, suggests CBS News. Furthermore, eat a small meal before shoveling so you will have energy; however, digestion puts a strain on your heart, so eating a large meal before any physical activity should be avoided, reports NBC 5 Chicago.
Choose the right shovel for you. A smaller blade will require you to lift less snow, putting less strain on your body, according to CBS News. In addition, use a shovel that is comfortable for your height and strength. You should wear light, layered, water-repellent clothing that provides both ventilation and insulation, suggests the AAOS. Avoid falls by wearing shoes or boots that have slip-resistant soles. When shoveling, push the snow to the side instead of lifting and throwing it off to the side, recommends CBS News. You will save energy and will put less strain on your back. Furthermore, pick up small loads of snow and shovel in sections. Try to clear snow early and frequently, particularly if a large snowfall is expected, suggests the AAOS. Starting early will give you the best chance to avoid the potential injuries that come with moving packed, heavy snow. When shoveling, drink plenty of water. If you begin to feel winded or overexerted while shoveling, take a break. If you experience lightheadedness, shortness of breath, or chest, throat, or arm discomfort or tightness, you should rest and seek medical attention if the symptoms persist, advises NBC 5 Chicago.
Make sure to add fuel to your snowblower before you begin using it. Never add fuel when the engine is running or hot, recommends the AAOS. In order to avoid the risk of carbon monoxide exposure, always fuel your snowblower outside, rather than in a garage, shed, or enclosed area. If the snow blower becomes jammed, stop the engine and wait more than five seconds, suggests the AAOS. Beware of the recoil of the motor and blades after the machine has been turned off. Use a solid object to clear wet snow or debris from the chute. Shut off the engine if you must walk away from the machine. Additionally, stay away from the engine because it can become very hot and burn unprotected flesh.
If you or a family member or friend have suffered an injury, call the Chicago accident lawyers of Stein & Shulman, LLC to obtain compensation for your injury. Call our office for a consultation so we can discuss your rights and how best to handles your injury claim. There is no charge for speaking with one of our experienced attorneys so call us at 312.422.0500.