How to Shovel Snow: Tips and Techniques

If you’ve spent even a few minutes behind a snow shovel, you know how exhausting and labor intensive removing snow can be. According to Harvard Medical School’s “Calories Burned…” chart, shoveling snow burns approximately 223 calories every 30 minutes (for a person weighing 155 lbs). That’s a serious workout! However, while shoveling snow can be an effective way to engage in healthy exercise, it can also lead to serious injury if it’s not approached carefully.  Between 1990 and 2006, approximately 195,000 people in the U.S. were treated in a hospital emergency room because of injuries acquired during snow shoveling. To help prevent any injuries, serious or minor, we’ve compiled the following “how-to” guide with plenty of shoveling tips and techniques:

 

Before Shoveling Snow:

  • Consider health risks. If you suffer from a heart condition, a bad back, or are out of shape, shoveling snow can be dangerous. Consider alternatives such as borrowing a snow blower or hiring a neighborhood teenager to shovel for you.
  • Wear proper footwear. You should wear shoes that will keep your feet warm and dry and with adequate traction that will help prevent any slips or falls.
  • Dress in layers. After a few minutes of shoveling, you’ll likely work up quite the sweat! Dress in layers that don’t restrict movement and will keep you warm, but can easily be removed as needed.
  • Stretch. Warming up your muscles, especially arms, legs, and back, will reduce the risk of injury.
  • Make sure you have a good shovel. An ergonomically designed snow shovel can greatly reduce strain on arms, legs, and back as you work. (Check out this list we compiled of top rated snow shovels)

Getting to Work!

  • Shovel early. Don’t let snow ice over before shoveling. This creates dangerous, slippery surfaces and significantly more work. Salt can be used to help break up ice, but causes damage to driveways and walkways.  
  • Shovel frequently. Don’t let snow accumulate more than a couple of inches before shoveling. It’s safer and much more effective to shovel small amounts more frequently through the day rather than a large amount all at once.
  • Clear deep snow a bit at a time. If you do find yourself facing deep snow, clear away just a couple of inches at a time. This will prevent overexertion and bodily strain.
  • Push. It’s far more effective to spend more time pushing than lifting. Use your shovel to push snow to the edge of your driveway or walkway then lift to designated snow pile.
  • Mind your posture. Keep your back straight and bed at the knees (not back!) when lifting.
  • Take breaks and drink water. As mentioned earlier, shoveling snow is hard physical labor! Never hesitate to take breaks as needed and drink plenty of water to replenish fluids.

Summerstep Snow Melting Mats

An effective alternative to shoveling doorways and walkways is the Summerstep Snow Melting Mat. These Heated mats are designed to be left outside all winter long, can be custom made to fit any location, and will melt approximately 2 inches of snow per hour while operating. It eliminates time-consuming shoveling and de-icing and prevents slips that could cause serious injury and even a lawsuit. To save time and hassle, and for added peace of mind, consider making Summerstep heated mats a part of your winter safety precautions.

 

The Art of the Slip and Fall

The Art of the Slip and Fall

When it comes to winter time, many people think of the holidays and the magical atmosphere that accompanies snow. For others, it is an inconvenience that needs to cease as quickly as possible. One thing that we can all agree on is that slipping and falling is no fun, at least for you. Now watching others do it is another story. As long as no one gets seriously injured we can all sit back, enjoy the show, and thank the gods of winter for video cameras.

Basketfall

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Ladies and gentlemen, the next Steph Curry.

Crossing Guard

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Can we get a guard for the crossing guard?

I Like Turtles

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Such a great ‘turtle on its back impression’. Get that man a prize!

Sidewalk or Slidewalk

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Ouch! Breaking face! I mean news…

9/10

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This one is actually a bit graceful, and I hope the gentlemen behind her rushed to her aid.

Great Flail

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Sometimes you just gotta take a moment.

Couples Therapy

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Misery loves company, right?

Snow Shoveling Fun

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Points for shovel throw and distance.

It’s Still Funny in Black and White

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Losing groceries on top of humiliation makes for a bad day.

 

We’ve all had one of those cringe-worthy moments where you hope no one was around to see it, much less record it.  Navigate the slippery slope with safety.  We wish you the best as temperature drops.

Stats of Winter-Related Injuries

Cold winter months and the accompanying icy or snowy weather is an especially important time to consider workplace safety precautions. The increased risk of injury due to cold temperatures, ice or snow is indisputable.  According to the CDC, winter weather kills more than twice as many Americans than summer heat. Keeping yourself aware of the increased risk cold weather brings will help as you plan to prevent winter-related injuries and keep yourself and employees safe.

Winter-Related Injuries Involving Vehicles

If you or others are regularly behind the wheel during winter months, consider the increased risk of driving in snowy or icy conditions demonstrated by the following  statistics:

Other Winter-Related Injuries

Furthermore, consider the risk of slips, falls and other injuries that occur during work done in cold, snowy, or icy weather:

  • 1 million Americans are injured due to slip and fall injuries annually. The risk of slip and fall injuries increases dramatically during winter months.
  • Slips and falls are not the main cause of fatal workplace injuries, however, they represent the primary cause of lost days from work.
  • In 2014, there were 42,480 workplace injuries or illnesses from ice, sleet, or snow that required at least one day off of work as a result.
  • From the above injuries, 34,860, or 82 percent, were due to slips or falls on level ground.
  • Between 1990 and 2006, approximately 195,000 people in the U.S. were treated in a hospital emergency room because of injuries acquired during snow shoveling.
  • Approximately 1,301 Americans die from hypothermia annually.

 

If you or your employees are at risk for acquiring winter-related injuries, it’s important to properly plan against them. An effective solution to keeping steps, doorways and walkways safe and ice-free is the Summerstep Snow Melting Mat.   Summerstep heated mats are designed to be left outside all winter long, can be custom made to fit any location, and will melt approximately 2 inches of snow per hour while operating. It eliminates time-consuming shoveling and de-icing and prevents slips that could cause serious injury. To save time and hassle, and for added peace of mind, consider making Summerstep heated mats a part of your winter safety precautions.

Winter Safety Tips

In preparation for the winter months, it’s important to consider what measures you will take to exercise proper safety precautions in both your home and commercial or industrial workplace.  During 2014, the United States Department of Labor recorded 42,480 workplace injuries and illnesses involving ice, sleet, or snow that required at least one day away from work to recuperate. Of these reported incidents, 82% resulted from slips or falls on level ground (Bureau of Labor Statistics). Planning and preparing can save you significant money in the long run and prevent serious injuries. We suggest you consider the following winter safety tips as you plan how you will best maintain a safe environment at your home or workplace during cold, snowy, or icy weather.

 

Home Safety

Before winter months hit, it’s important to check that your home is prepared. Damage from frozen pipes or faulty heating systems can be expensive and even deadly.

  • Check that your home is properly insulated (walls and attic), that you have adequate storm windows, and that windows and doors are caulked.
  • Have your heating systems professionally checked and serviced. It’s important that they are clean, working properly and ventilate to the outside.
  • Make sure you are equipped with carbon monoxide detectors and are familiar with the symptoms of carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning.
  • Remove tree branches that could become heavy with ice or snow and fall on your home.
  • If possible, shut off outside water valves.
  • To protect exposed pipes, allow a small trickle of water run from connected faucets.
  • Open kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors to allow air to circulate around pipes.
  • Keep your thermostat set to the same temperature day and night and leave it set to no lower than 55°F while away from home for an extended time. The extra cost of heating your home is minuscule in comparison to the expensive cost of damages from frozen or burst pipes.
  • If your home has a fireplace, use a glass or metal screen to prevent sparks or even rollings logs from making their way to flammable carpet or furniture.
  • When using a space heater, follow the three-foot rule- keep any surrounding items at least three feet away from your heater.
  • Before going to bed, make sure any space heaters are turned off and fire embers are fully extinguished.

 

Workplace Safety

It’s never a good idea to cut corners when it comes to safety during snowy or icy winter months. This is especially true when you have a responsibility for the safety of your employees and patrons. Taking extra time to plan and create a safe work environment will prevent injury and keep your workday running smoothly.

  • If you work at a commercial retail property, it’s important to keep in mind that the last months of the year will likely be some of your busiest. During these periods of larger crowds, it’s more important than ever to keep walkways clear of pallets, boxes, or other items. Remember: safety first!
  • Take extra time to keep floors clean and dry. Any snow that gets tracked into your workplace can quickly create a dangerously slippery surface.
  • Use “wet floor” signs where necessary.
  • Provide adequate lighting in your workplace that will help illuminate any wet or slippery surfaces.
  • Encourage employees to wear slip-resistant footwear.
  • If you are working on a project outdoors, review your work site safety every day. Surfaces can become dangerously slippery overnight.
  • Schedule outside work in shorter increments and break up large projects into smaller tasks.
  • Establish a warm area for employees to take breaks from outside work.
  • Keep track of weather forecasts. The last thing you want is for your employees to be stuck working outside in a terrible snow storm or severely cold temperatures.
  • Ensure that employees wear appropriate clothing for outside work such as a wind resistant coat or jacket, a hat, scarf, mittens, and waterproof boots.
  • Make sure that employees stay dry. Wet clothing loses its ability to insulate and quickly transmits cold temperatures to the body.
  • Be familiar with and watch for signs of frostbite and hypothermia and get immediate medical attention for any symptoms.
  • Sprinkle icy surfaces with sand to provide traction or salt to melt the ice.

 

Avoid Slip and Fall Accidents

An effective solution to keeping steps, doorways and walkways safe and ice-free is the Summerstep Snow Melting Mat. Summerstep heated mats are designed to be left outside all winter long, can be custom made to fit any location, and will melt approximately 2 inches of snow per hour while operating. It eliminates time-consuming shoveling and de-icing and prevents slips that could cause serious injury and even a lawsuit. To save time and hassle, and for added peace of mind, consider making Summerstep heated mats a part of your winter safety precautions.

 

Commercial Snow Removal

Commercial Snow and Ice Removal

When it comes to commercial snow removal, proactive, preventative planning is the best way to go. In the words of Benjamin Franklin, “ An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”. Last-minute scrambling to remove snow and ice is chaotic and can be unnecessarily time-consuming and expensive. Additionally, a reactive approach to snow removal leads to excessive use of snow and ice melting agents including rock salt and other chemicals that are harmful to concrete, roadways, and the environment. Preventative snow and ice control will also significantly reduce the risk of personal injury and damage to property. This includes damage to property caused by icy driveways, personal injury from slip and fall accidents, accidents that occur from snow or ice falling off rooftops, and damage or injury resulting from falling tree branches.

Know the Rules

Before establishing a snow and ice removal plan for your commercial property, it’s important to familiarize yourself with the snow and ice removal laws for your municipality and city. Laws vary from state to state and your snow and ice control plan will need to address these laws. Additionally, you will want to ensure you are insured in case a litigation does arise.

Some commercial property owners or managers may wish to partner with professional snow and ice removal services. If this is the route you choose to go, begin looking for a contractor as early as possible, near the end of summer or beginning of fall. Make certain that your chosen contractor has the necessary tools, staff, insurance, and availability to meet your needs.

Make a Plan

When constructing a commercial snow removal plan, it’s suggested that a detailed, step-by-step guide is written out and followed unfailingly. Moreover, you may want to consider documenting adherence to your plan; this will prove beneficial should a legal accusation arise.

Some elements you may want to contemplate incorporating into your commercial snow and ice control plan include:

  • Purchase all necessary equipment and supplies and service any snow blowers before winter.
  • Clearly define responsibility regarding snow removal in any leases involved with your commercial property.
  • Keep an eye on weather predictions.
  • Pre-treat surfaces when snow or ice is expected.
  • Check for any leaks in gutters and downspouts that could result in dangerous ice patches.
  • Remove ice and snow from all sidewalks and driveways surrounding your property.
  • Do not let snow accumulate to more than 3 inches.
  • Confirm that your facility has proper lighting.
  • Make routine inspections of your property throughout the day.

Try Summerstep

An efficient and convenient way to prevent ice and snow accumulation during winter weather is Summerstep Snow Melting Mats. Summerstep Snow Melting Mats can reduce the need for time and labor intensive snow removal and the use of harsh chemicals. Summerstep Snow Melting Mats are designed to be outside throughout the winter and can be custom designed to fit any location. With Summerstep Snow Melting Mats, you can keep your property accessible and running smoothly during even the harshest winter months.