Winter is here in the County and snow and ice are inevitable. With that comes shoveling snow, salting sidewalks and injuries related to these activities.

Did you know that annually there are more than 11,500 injuries requiring treatment in emergency rooms, doctor’s offices, and clinics due to shoveling snow?

Research shows that many of these injuries could be prevented if the person doing the shoveling did so in a safe manner.

To help protect you and your family, this winter, here are a few snow shoveling safety tips:

  1. Warm up. Prepare your body for the work about to be performed by stretching before going outside to shovel. After all, shoveling snow can burn some serious calories and is demanding on the body.
  2.  Identify icy spots. Locate icy areas and treat them with salt immediately. These slippery areas may easily be hidden by fresh snow.
  3. Utilize your legs to push the snow. Your legs are the largest and strongest muscle in your body; use them to your advantage.
  4. Shovel small amounts of snow at a time. Do not fill up the entire shovel with snow and then lift it, especially when the snow is wet. This can lead to lower back injuries.  Instead, use a smaller shovel or reduce the amount of snow you pick up when snow is heavier.
  5. Lift with your legs, not your back. Avoid twisting your body and tossing the snow which can lead to back injuries. Keep your arms close to your body for stability.
  6. Do not toss or throw snow. Scoop up the snow with the shovel and carry it to where you want the snow to be.  Abruptly twisting to toss snow increases your chance of injury and energy exertion.
  7. Drink plenty of water. Shoveling snow is a workout, especially in very cold temperatures. Make sure to stay hydrated.
  8. Wear appropriate clothing, including a winter hat, gloves, slip-resistant footwear, and multiple layers.

Following these snow shoveling safety tips will help you avoid a costly and painful injury this winter.

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