The Hidden Dangers Of Snow Removal And How To Avoid Them

Nothing is more beautiful than watching snow blanket the ground, turning a gray and somber landscape into a winter wonderland. Then reality hits like an icy stream of cold water from your rooftop landing on your head—you have a snow removal job in your immediate future. Before you begin, you should be aware of possible dangers. These include:

Health and safety hazards from shoveling snow

Although it seems like a simple task, snow shoveling requires strenuous physical exertion and unnatural movements. Heavier, wet snow is particularly dangerous for those who have health issues such as heart disease or high blood pressure. Even those who have not been diagnosed with specific health problems, but are not physically active, should take great care to work slowly and take frequent breaks. Every year, many heart attacks occur from shoveling snow.

Shoveling snow is also hard on backs, shoulders, and knees. Twisting, bending, and lifting loads of snow can cause muscle strain that is not readily apparent during the activity. Endorphins, natural opiates that the brain releases during physical exercise, block pain and produce a feeling of euphoria. After the snow shoveling, when the effects of the endorphins recede, you may find yourself with moderate to intense pain in your back or shoulders.

You should consider a ergonomic shovel rather than the traditional straight handled variety. This type of shovel has a handle that is curved downward to minimize bending motions, saving your lower back from repetitive stress.

Shoveling snow can also bring knee damage due to insecure footing on slippery ground, especially if you need to carry the snow for a short distance to clear an area. Non-slip boots with ridged soles are best for working in snow.

Hypothermia and frostbite are very real concerns if you are exposed to snow and frigid temperatures for an extended period of time, especially if there is wind present. It is better to wear several layers of clothing rather than just a heavy overcoat. Warm air is trapped between multiple layers of clothing.

If gloves or socks become wet, they should be changed or dried at once. Head and especially ears should remain covered at all times. Frostbite occurs first on extremities, so if you begin to lose feeling in fingers or toes, seek shelter immediately and warm them gradually. Hypothermia first shows itself through intense shivering or disorientation.

Remember, snow shoveling doesn't need to be an endurance race or a man against nature showdown. Slow and steady should be your mantra when you engage in manual snow removal. And if you need some extra help, consider a professional snow removal company, like AP Enterprises Property Services.