Snow Removal Mistakes

Snow Removal Mistakes

After a heavy snow, it is important to remove the snow from walkways, driveways, and stairs as soon as possible in order to avoid ice buildup and reduce slips and falls. Save yourself time, effort, money, and a few fingers by preparing early for winter storms.  Proper planning prevents poor performance.  Read on to avoid common snow removal mistakes.

Mistake #1:  Cluttered Yard

Sometimes snow comes unexpectedly, but most often there is a weather report that will warn of the impending arrival.  Prepare for the snow by preparing your yard before it arrives.  A mistake many make is not securing or stowing away yard accessories that will become camouflaged after the snow.  Hoses, garden shovels/tools, outdoor decor, childrens’ toys will all cause chaos in a snow blower if you forget where they were before the snow.  This mistake will damage the yard object and possibly your snow blower.  

Mistake #2:  Not Respecting the Snow Blower


Man snow blowing sidewalkFor those who experience exceptional snowfall each year, a snow blower is critical for winter snow removal.  Snow blowers save time and prevent many of the injuries associated with snow shoveling; however, a tool with the capacity to shoot snow across your drive can be extremely hazardous if not used properly.  It is obvious that no one should put their hand in an active snow blower and that the whirling blades are very dangerous, but what about when the
snow blower is powered off?

A researcher at the University of Arkansas may have cracked the code. Dr. Bart Hammig’s recent study of more than 30,000 snow blower injuries found a source of hidden power that can lurk, even when an operator presence switch, or “Dead man’s switch,” has been invoked and the power to blades cut off.  The problem often starts the same way: with a clogged machine.  Wet snow can easily clog a snowblower and frustrate the user. Sticks don’t always work to dislodge the snow, and that is when thousands of people every year resort to the worst idea:

“They stick their hand down the chute and try to dislodge the snow. And that is when severe injuries occur,” he explained.

How can that happen, when power to the blades is off? Dr. Hammig’s research shows that inside all that clogged snow, rotational force is built up, enough to do damage even when the engine is cut completely off.

It’s something many users have never heard.

“And we know when that’s dislodged, it can actually rotate a quarter or a half a turn, which would probably be enough to do damage,” said Hammig.

Mistake #3:  Overexertion

While snow shoveling is good exercise, it can also be dangerous for the optimistic shoveler who takes on more than he/she should. Shoveling snow is extremely strenuous, especially for those individuals who do not engage in regular cardiovascular activity. According to the Cleveland Clinic, approximately 11,000 people seek shoveling-related hospital treatment each year for injuries (93%) or cardiac issues (7%). Here are some tips from the National Safety Council for safe snow shoveling:

  • Individuals over the age of 40 and/or those who are relatively inactive, should be especially careful.Shoveling snow
  • Avoid shoveling after eating or while smoking.
  • If you have a history of heart trouble, do not shovel without a doctor’s permission.
  • Shovel only fresh snow. Freshly fallen, powdery snow is easier to shovel than the wet, packed-down old snow.
  • Push the snow as you shovel. It’s easier on your back than lifting the snow out of the way.
  • Don’t pick up too much at once. Use a small shovel, or fill only one-fourth or one-half of a large one.
  • Slow Down!  Shoveling (like lifting weights) can raise your heart rate and blood pressure dramatically; so pace yourself. Stretch out and warm up to prepare your body before taking on the task.
  • Use proper technique. Lift with your legs bent, not your back. Keep your back straight. By bending and “sitting” into the movement, you’ll keep your spine upright and less stressed. The strongest muscles in your body (your shoulders, torso and thighs) can do the work for you.
  • Do not work to the point of exhaustion. If you run out of breath, take a break. If you feel tightness in your chest, stop immediately.

 Summerstep Snow Melting Mats

Powerblanket®, the leader in total temperature control solutions, now offers Summerstep™ heated door, stair, and walkway snow melting mats that use radiant heat to clear your path of ice and snow. These mats are heavy-duty snow melting, safety mats designed to melt snow and ice to prevent accumulation on stairs and walkways. They melt snow and ice on contact and create a safe walkway in even the coldest winter conditions.  Summerstep snow melting mats help prevent accidents due to slipping and falling that could cause delays, decreased productivity, or increased costs in areas with heavy foot traffic: universities, hospitals, industrial sites, etc. Designed to be outside throughout the winter, Summerstep mats stop the accumulation of additional snow and ice, reducing time and labor intensive snow removal and eliminating  the use of  any harsh melting agents. Customize your Summerstep snow melting system with connectable mats to cover any space.

  • Keep stairs, doorways, walkways, and ramps free from snow and ice
  • Will melt approximately 2 inches of snow per hour when operating
  • Protect personnel from winter weather conditions
  • Prevent slips and falls that could lead to costly lawsuits
  • More effective for snow and ice melting than harsh chemicals (less damaging to the environment, reusable, won’t damage concrete or other flooring surfaces)
  • More convenient than shoveling snow
  • 33.3 Watts/Sq ft
  • The ONLY snow melting mat product that is made in the USA

 

Sources

“Snow Shoveling—A Real Risk for Heart Attack”. Cleveland Clinic. 6 January 2017. https://health.clevelandclinic.org/2015/02/snow-shoveling-a-real-risk-for-heart-attack/

“Snow Shoveling”. National Safety Council. 6 January 2017. www.nsc.org/NSCDocuments_Corporate/SafetyObservancesDocuments/Snow-Shoveling.pdf

Thousands Injured by Powered-Down Snow Blowers | NBC Chicago http://www.nbcchicago.com/news/business/target-5-snowblower-injury-138621664.html#ixzz4XdprT3GP

Slipping on Ice and Snow Shoveling

SLIPPING ON ICE

Group of people and penguinsOn January 4, 2017, Doctors in Germany prescribed a strategy to avoid slipping on ice:  walk like a penguin. Imagine all your employees waddling back and forth like a rookery of penguins!  This is not exactly what the German trauma surgeons meant.  The technique involves leaning forward so that a person’s center of gravity is on the front leg rather than divided evenly between both legs.  “When humans walk normally, body weight is split almost evenly over both legs, which the surgeons say increases the risk of a person losing their balance and falling on slippery surfaces.”  It’s a comical visual; however, slipping on ice is a serious workplace concern during icy and cold conditions.

SLIP AND FALL STATISTICS

  • Falls account for over 8 million hospital emergency room visits, representing the leading cause of visits (21.3%). Slips and falls account for over 1 million visits, or 12% of total falls.
  • Fall fatalities are nearly equally divided between men and women. However, more women will experience a slip-and-fall accident. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, falls accounted for 5% of the job-related fatalities for women compared to 11% for men.
  • Fractures are the most serious consequences of falls and occur in 5% of all people who fall.
  • Slips and falls do not constitute a primary cause of fatal occupational injuries, but represent the primary cause of lost days from work.
  • Slips and falls are the leading cause of workers’ compensation claims and are the leading cause of occupational injury for people aged 55 years and older.

 

SNOW SHOVELING

While snow shoveling can be good exercise, it can also be dangerous for the optimistic shoveler who takes on more than he/she should. Shoveling snow is extremely strenuous, especially for those individuals who do not engage in regular cardiovascular activity. According to the Cleveland Clinic, approximately 11,000 people seek shoveling-related hospital treatment each year for injuries (93%) or cardiac issues (7%). Here are some tips from the National Safety Council for safe snow shoveling:

  • Little boy walking on snow melting matsIndividuals over the age of 40 and/or those who are relatively inactive, should be especially careful.
  • If you have a history of heart trouble, do not shovel without a doctor’s permission.
  • Avoid shoveling after eating or while smoking.
  • Take it slow! Shoveling (like lifting weights) can raise your heart rate and blood pressure dramatically; so pace yourself. Stretch out and warm up to prepare your body before taking on the task.
  • Shovel only fresh snow. Freshly fallen, powdery snow is easier to shovel than the wet, packed-down old snow.
  • Push the snow as you shovel. It’s easier on your back than lifting the snow out of the way.
  • Don’t pick up too much at once. Use a small shovel, or fill only one-fourth or one- half of a large one.
  • Use proper technique. Lift with your legs bent, not your back. Keep your back straight. By bending and “sitting” into the movement, you’ll keep your spine upright and less stressed. The strongest muscles in your body (your shoulders, torso and thighs) can do the work for you.
  • Do not work to the point of exhaustion. If you run out of breath, take a break. If you feel tightness in your chest, stop immediately.

 

POWERBLANKET CREATED SUMMERSTEP

Removing ice and snow regularly to prevent slipping on ice can be a full-time job depending on the weather.   To save time, energy, and your employees health, use Summerstep heated safety mats to keep the walkways on your construction site clear and avoid snow shoveling.

 Summerstep Snow Melting Mats

  • Prevent slipping on ice and falls
  • Protect personnel from winter weather conditions and keep stairs, doorways, walkways, and ramps free from snow and ice
  •  More convenient than shoveling snow
  • Avoid health risks associated with snow shoveling
  •  More effective for snow and ice melting than harsh chemicals (less damaging to the environment, reusable, won’t damage concrete or other flooring surfaces)
  •  Will melt approximately 2 inches of snow per hour when operating
  •  40 Watts/Sq ft heated area
  •  The ONLY snow melting mat product made in the USA

 

 

 

 

Sources

“Quick Facts.” National Floor Safety Institute. 6 January 2017.  https://nfsi.org/nfsi-research/quick-facts/

“Snow Shoveling”. National Safety Council. 6 January 2017. www.nsc.org/NSCDocuments_Corporate/SafetyObservancesDocuments/Snow-Shoveling.pdf

“Snow Shoveling—A Real Risk for Heart Attack”. Cleveland Clinic. 6 January 2017. https://health.clevelandclinic.org/2015/02/snow-shoveling-a-real-risk-for-heart-attack/

“Walk like a penguin to avoid slipping on ice, German doctors advise”. Reuters in Berlin.  6 January 2017. www.theguardian.com/world/2017/jan/04/penguin-walk-german-doctors-advice-slipping-icy-paths

 

 

5 Helpful Tips for Winter Construction Efficiency

5 Tips for Winter Construction

Working outside during the cold winter months presents many obstacles; however, some jobs will not wait for better circumstances. Below are some tips and solutions to improve winter construction.

1) KEEP YOUR EMPLOYEES SAFE

Train your employees in proper winter construction precautions.  Encourage everyone to wear layers of loose-fitting clothing, to stay dry, and to protect from the wind and sun with gloves, hats and sunscreen.  If conditions become too cold/dangerous, employees should have access to shelter.

On the work site, remove ice and snow regularly to prevent slips and falls.  This can be a full-time job depending on the weather.  The act of shoveling snow can also be extremely strenuous, especially for those individuals who do not engage in regular cardiovascular activity. According to the Cleveland Clinic, approximately 11,000 people seek shoveling-related hospital treatment each year for injuries (93%) or cardiac issues (7%). To save time, energy, and your employees health, use Summerstep heated safety mats to keep the walkways on your construction site clear.

Summerstep Snow Melting Mats

  • ,  Protect personnel from winter weather conditions and keep stairs, doorways, walkways, and ramps free from snow and ice
  •   Prevent slips and falls
  •   More convenient than shoveling snow
  •   More effective for snow and ice melting than harsh chemicals (less damaging to the environment, reusable, won’t damage concrete or other flooring surfaces)
  •   Will melt approximately 2 inches of snow per hour when operating
  •   40 Watts/Sq ft heated area
  •   The ONLY snow melting mat product made in the USA

learn-more-summerstep-01

2) MAINTAIN INTEGRITY OF CONCRETE

Winter construction cold-weather operations aren’t just about safety. While most construction tasks can be carried out in cold weather, some operations, such as concrete work, can take much longer and even fail without proper precautions.

 

If concrete is to reach necessary strength levels, it can’t be allowed to freeze for the first 24 hours after being poured or placed. Sheeting the concrete can ensure the required temperature and moisture necessary for curing, if the weather isn’t too severe.  In severe conditions, supplemental heating systems or enclosures must be brought in to maintain the integrity of the concrete.

 

Powerblanket Concrete Blankets provide a manageable way to cure concrete in the cold weather months, save you time and money, and come in various lengths and sizes. We have you covered.

 

Powerblanket Concrete Curing Blankets

  •   Cure concrete 2.8 times faster than conventional insulated blankets
  •   Produce cold weather concreting strength of 3,925 psi in 72 hours
  •   Maintain moisture throughout hydrating process
  •   Easily installed and removed
  •   Maintain ACI compliance for cold-weather concreting  Certified to UL and CSA standards

learn-more-concrete-blankets-01

3) DON’T LET FROZEN GROUND SLOW YOU DOWN

When it’s cold and the ground freezes, the job suffers.  Often prep for winter construction takes longer than the actual job.  Some industrial companies try heating the ground with massive coils or large heating systems, which become expensive and cumbersome. This approach requires rental fees and transporting equipment.  

Powerblanket has considered the difficulties and delays associated with winter construction and cold/freezing temperatures and has created a solution.  With Powerblanket’s patented heating technology you can prep the ground with little to no effort or supervision on your part.

Powerblanket ground thawing blankets have a higher power density and hotter temperature than our concrete curing blankets. The higher power is iideal for ground thawing applications and curing epoxy or resins.

Why Powerblanket Ground Thawing Blankets?

  •   High power density thaws frozen ground quickly
  •   Remove frost prior to concrete pour
  •   Melt snow and ice from roofs, walkways, and construction areas
  •   Easily placed and removed for repeated use in harsh winter weather
  •   Can be used to cure epoxy and resins
  •   Certified to UL and CSA standards

learn-more-ground-thawing-01

4) KEEP MATERIALS WARM

Masonry, roofing, paint, and plaster/stucco materials are all sensitive to cold weather.  Maintaining the integrity of these materials is critical for their success in winter construction.

Powerblanket Hot Boxes save you money by keeping your products from freezing without the risk of overheating. The Hot Box pallet warmer is easily assembled, taken apart. Hot boxes are ideal for cold wea
ther storage, freeze protection, transporting, job site heating, remote location use, and winter roofing. Standard Hot Boxes hold product between 100°F and 120°F (38°C and 49°C) and optional adjustable thermostatic controllers allow temperatures to be precisely controlled.

Powerblanket Hot Boxes:

  •   Quick and easy assembly
  •   Preserve temperature sensitive material
  •   Heat materials and palletized products: adhesives, shingles, paint, caulk, resins epoxies, etc.
  •   Access doors on two sides.
  •   Certified to UL and CSA standards

learn-more-hot-boxes-01

5) USING A PROPANE HEATER

Winter construction professionals often use temporary, propane-powered heating equipment on the jobsite, making it easier to finish projects on time and on budget. In addition to providing more comfortable working conditions, propane-powered heaters can also maintain the ambient temperatures necessary for common tasks like drywall installation or painting. However, like any portable heating device, propane-powered heaters must be used and maintained properly.

When temperatures get too low, the propane will not flow consistently or effectively, and you may lose your heat altogether. Propane-tank efficiency will fall substantially as the temperature drops. As the temperature drops, so does the pressure in your propane tank, and the pressure in your propane tank directly affects the volume of propane you have to work with. Your extraction rate (how quickly and smoothly you can extract propane from the tank) will suffer as well. Without a heating source to assist in the pressure maintenance of your tank, you will have to keep it as full as possible in order to keep it working, even if temperatures are mildly cold.

Powerblanket Propane Tank Heater

Powerblanket has the best propane tank heating solution on the market. These heating blankets will help maintain pressure and efficiency on just about any size tank. All Powerblanket heating blankets are certified to UL and CSA safety standards

Benefits of Powerblanket Propane Tank Heaters:

  •   Increase performance and efficiency of propane tanks
  •   Eliminates unnecessary cylinder refills in cold weather
  •  Even heat distribution in the areas where it is needed most
  •   Save money by optimizing gas and material usage
  •    Certified to UL and CSA standards

learn-more-propane-tank-01

 

Heated Walkway Mat-NEW!

HEATED WALKWAY MATsummersteplogo2016-02

What is more beautiful than fresh, untouched snow in morning light?  A clear walkway that you didn’t have to shovel or salt!  Snow is beautiful, but that beauty comes with a cost: shoveling, slippery stairs, ice, repeat.  Many home and business owners would love a quick winter fix. Powerblanket is pleased to announce the newest member of the PB family that will make your winter snow maintenance a breeze: the SummerStep™ heated walkway mat.

 

CLEAR A PATH WITHOUT THE SIDE EFFECTS OF ROCK SALTheat-step-5-cob

While rock salt may be the most economical solutions for snow and ice accumulation, rock salt can cause problems for pavement, concrete, and vegetation.  Rock salt can seep into the porous surface of your concrete and make a home inside. This makes the concrete more prone to deterioration. Salt crystals inside of concrete also draw water toward them, increasing the saturation potential of concrete by 9%. Depending on the thaw/freeze cycle of your winter, your concrete could experience some significant damage.  Asphalt surfaces, brick and stone used in home walkways, and landscaping also suffer from the salt/water infiltration and freeze/thaw cycles, though not quite as much as does concrete.  Since plants cannot “sweat off” salts like animals, they have to shed leaves/twigs. Salt also reduces soil quality and attracts water to itself, which makes it harder for root systems to pull the water into the plant.

With the SummerStep heated walkway mat, these environmental side effects are completely avoided.  Save your concrete, pavement and vegetation.

SNOW MELTING MATS

heat-step-4-cobSummerStep™ heated snow mats are ideal for both residential and industrial applications.  Using the same technology as the Powerblanket, the SummerStep heated walkway mat uses radiant heat to clear the path of ice and snow.  Snow and ice have the potential to lead to many hazards that delay productivity, increase cost, and cause accidents.   Prevent those hazards and the accumulation of additional ice and snow with SummerStep.  Enjoy the convenience of a portable snow melting mat that is designed to be outside all winter long. SummerStep™ outdoor snow melting mats keep stairs, doorways, ramps, walkways and alleyways safe and secure from slip and fall accidents. Prevent hazards created by icy winter weather when you use these snow traction mats.  

  • Save time and money
  • Keep walkways clear of ice and snow for your safety
  • Environmentally safe, requires no chemicals
  • Durable and long-lasting
  • More convenient than shoveling snow
  • Peace of mind warranty
  • Reliable. Even in the worst conditions, SummerStep keeps the path clear
  • The ONLY snow melting mat made in the USA

Stairs, sidewalks, driveways, ramps, doorways, and narrow walkways remain free from snow when you use SummerStep snow melting mats.

 

buy-now-04