Preventing Injuries During Snow Shovelling


Injuries During Snow


Welcome to winter in Canada: Snow, cold and more snow.  When the white powdery flakes fall, we all know what that means – grab the shovel, it’s time to clear the driveway and sidewalks!  As much of a chore that shovelling can be, it’s actually good exercise and gives you a chance to get outside for some fresh air, BUT overdoing it and not properly preparing before you head out can leave you with pulled muscles, a sore back or even more serious injuries.  We’ve compiled the following tips & tricks to keep you safe during this shovelling season.

  • Stretch it out! Before you even step foot outside you should be doing some basic stretching to warm up your muscles.  Check out the link below for before and after shovelling stretches.
  • Stay Warm. It’s imperative you keep bundled up not only to prevent frostbite but to keep away the sniffles.  Layering your clothing and making sure you have a spare pair of dry gloves handy is a good way to start.
  • What type of shovel you use DOES matter. Take the time to pick out the best shovel for you and your needs.  Be sure to look for a shovel that suits you.  Make sure that you consider your height (a taller person should not be getting a shorter shovel as this will increase your risk of back strain or injury from constantly hunching over).  The weight of the shovel is also important.  Someone who is muscular and fit can handle a heavy metal shovel but that won’t be suitable for a person that is petite and thin.  Many companies have come up with ergonomic shovels to help protect your back so do some research before just buying the first shovel to come along.
  • Take breaks – OFTEN. This isn’t a sprint to see how fast you can clear your driveway and sidewalk; it’s more of a marathon.  Taking breaks to rehydrate and give your muscles a break will pay off in the end.
  • Don’t wait until the storm has passed. It is good practice to shovel more often compared to waiting until all the snow has fallen.  If you remove the snow a few times during that dreaded storm your body will thank you.  Waiting will only result in a lot more snow for you to move which will be heavy and an added strain on the body.
  • Switch it up. Ensure that you are switching your hand position on your shovel and changing from left to right and vice versa.  This will work all your muscles evenly and prevent overworking just one side of your body.

The snow is here for a couple of months so shovelling is inevitable for most of us.  Embrace the winter and avoid a trip to the emergency room by keeping yourself safe during this shovelling season.

Bryson Bumstead is a certified Master Inspector and a Licensed Plumber with over 30 years of experience in the construction field. BDB Home Inspections provides professional assessments in the Southern Georgian Bay area.