Really big snow storms  – and even every day, run-of-the-mill snowfalls – create a risk by shoveling. Pushing a heavy snow blower also can cause injury. And, there’s the cold factor. Cold weather can increase heart rate and blood pressure. It can make blood clot more easily and constrict arteries, which decreases blood supply. This is true even in healthy people. Individuals over the age of 40 or who are relatively inactive should be particularly careful. Always ensure appropriate cold weather dress while clearing snow, and also to make sure someone knows you’re out there shoveling. Be safe!

National Safety Council recommends the following tips to shovel safely.

    • Do not shovel after eating or while smoking
    • Take it slow and stretch out before you begin
    • Shovel only fresh, powdery snow; it’s lighter
    • Push the snow rather than lifting it
    • If you do lift it, use a small shovel or only partially fill the shovel
    • Lift with your legs, not your back
    • Do not work to the point of exhaustion
    • Snow Blower Safety
    • Be safe with these tips from the American Society for Surgery of the Hand and the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons:
    • Don’t pick up that shovel without a doctor’s permission if you have a history of heart disease. If you feel tightness in the chest or dizziness, stop immediately. A clear driveway is not worth your life.
    • If the blower jams, turn it off
    • Keep your hands away from the moving parts
    • Do not drink alcohol and use the snow blower
    • Be aware of the carbon monoxide risk of running a snow blower in an enclosed space
    • Refuel your snow blower when it is off, never when it is running