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February 25, 2010

Safety Tip: Shoveling Snow

Much of the country is still reeling from record snowfalls in recent weeks. That means people everywhere are digging out their cars, homes and businesses - and injuring themselves in the process.

The Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS) says shoveling snow is like lifting weights in freezing temperatures on uneven, slippery ground while wearing heavy clothing. Here's the scoop on safe snow shoveling from our experienced neighbors to the north:
  • Warm up first. Walk for a few minutes or flex and stretch.
  • Allow enough time. People get hurt when they try to shovel in a hurry.
  • Wear several layers of warm, lightweight clothing that lets you move comfortably.
  • Spread salt, sand or kitty litter to create better traction if the ground is icy or slippery.
  • Keep moving and work at a steady pace. Shovel only small, manageable amounts (1-2 inches) at a time.
  • Protect your back by lifting properly and safely
  • Walk to dump snow rather than throwing it. DO NOT twist at the waist or throw the snow over your shoulder or to the side.
  • Recognize danger signs. Stop shovelling and call 911 if you feel discomfort or heaviness in the chest, arms or neck, or other signs of overexertion.
  • Review the full list here.

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