Thursday, January 27, 2011

Snow Shoveling Safety

Last February, I wrote a post about Snow Shoveling Safety. I wrote the post because my Dad made a visit to the ER with chest pains after a day of snow shovelling. This past summer my Dad had pacemaker surgery and is doing well.

The Northeast has been hit with several snow storms in January. It is just enough snow to create the "bread and milk" panic in the community. The snow started early yesterday and dumped 8"-10" of snow in the area. I called my parents to check on them. My Mom answered the phone slightly out of breath.

Me: "Have you been shoveling?".
Mom: "I don't want your father out there shoveling by himself."
Me: "Kim (my sister) is on her way up to shovel and you told me Johnny (my brother) offered to stop by after work. I am also available to help you shovel.

Dad gets on the phone

Me: "Have you been shoveling?"
Dad: "The heart specialist told me I could do whatever I felt comfortable doing"
Me: "Really?"

Stubborn! He know he has help but wants to shovel on his own.

Please be careful shovelling snow. A few tips from the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons:


Warm up your muscles. Shoveling can be a vigorous activity. Before you begin, warm up your muscles for 10 minutes with light exercise. Be sure to include your leg muscles—heart attacks and similar injuries are sometimes the result of working the smaller muscles of your arms and back while not using the large muscle groups of the legs.

Pace yourself. Take frequent breaks and replenish fluids to prevent dehydration. If you experience chest pain, shortness of breath or other signs of a heart attack, seek emergency care, such as by calling 9-1-1.

Use a shovel that is comfortable for your height and strength. Do not use a shovel that is too heavy or too long for you. Consider buying a shovel that is specially designed to prevent too much stooping. Space your hands on the tool grip to increase your leverage.

Push the snow instead of lifting it, as much as you can. If you must lift, take small amounts of snow, and lift it with your legs: Squat with your legs apart, knees bent and back straight. Lift by straightening your legs, without bending at the waist. Then walk to where you want to dump the snow;holding a shovelful of snow with your arms outstretched puts too much weight on your spine.

Do not throw the snow over your shoulder or to the side. This requires a twisting motion that stresses your back.

Be safe and enjoy the snow!


Rick Matz said...

My snow thrower is the best tool I own.

Michele said...

We have a small parking area to clear in front of the house and dojo. I have not learned how to use the tractor with the snow thrower attachment. I have a feeling that once I learn how to use the will become my job. :)

We contracted our neighbor, who owns a construction company, to dig us out today. It took him 20 minutes. I bet I would still be shoveling!

Rick Matz said...

A friend of mine has a brother who once owned a landscaping service. It went belly up and this friend of mine ended up buying a heavy duty industrial lawn mower from him, as he had a large lot to mow.

This lawn mower was quite a sight. It had a 48" deck, it was self propelled and you stood on a platform where you worked a couple of levers to steer it.

One summer day while he was working late, he wife decided to do him a favor and cut the grass.

Once the lawn mower took off, it became a scene from I Love Lucy. She panicked and held on tight not realizing that if she let go, it would turn itself off.

The neighbors actually came out to watch as she careened over the landscaping, mowing down the flower beds, you name it until she ran it into some soft dirt where the blades got caught up and the machine stalled.