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Wilfrid Laurier University Safety, Health, Environment & Risk Management
August 23, 2017
Canadian Excellence



Safety, Health, Environment & Risk Management

Ergonomic Tips for Safe Snow Shoveling

Feb 3/15

The snow is here!  Every year people injure their backs when they shovel snow - especially for the first time.

Watch this video that explains how to safely shovel  - Snow Shoveling Ergonomics Dr. Craig Rubenstein


Here are some TIPS on SAFE snow shoveling:

          Warm up your muscles - especially if you are shovelling first thing in the morning. 

          Be prepared - use an appropriate size shovel.  Do not use a shovel that can hold more snow than you can handle. 

          Try to shovel snow when it first falls - lighter snow means less weight for your back to lift.

          Wear gloves that provide you with a good grip on the handle of the shovel.  If your hands slip, you will be required to use more grip force to hold the shovel.

          Alternate your hand positions on the handle to spread the work between both arms.
Push snow that is not too deep to where you want to put it - then lift it.

          Do not pile snow above shoulder height.  Lifting above shoulder height greatly increases the risk of injury and also can lead to safety issues due to limited visibility in small spaces / driveways.

          When spreading salt, use a wheeled device or carry small amounts.

          Drink water and take rest breaks if you are shoveling for longer periods of time.

          Do not twist your back, move your feet.

          MOST IMPORTANT - bend your knees and lift with the larger muscles in your upper thighs.


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