As you may know, we offer a snow removal insurance policy to our customers. If you own a TLC Incorporated snow removal policy, you’re assured of having your driveway and walkway cleared for you every time there’s a snowfall of at least 2 inches, all winter long.
But not everybody will purchase one of our snow removal policies. And in fact, we can only offer the policy to customers in a fairly limited geographical area. If we expand the service area too much, we won’t be able to provide the prompt service to each customer that our policy promises. So some folks are going to be left out in the cold, so to speak, stuck with performing their own snow removal duties.
But snow removal can be dangerous work. It results in lots of injuries every year, with problems ranging from lower back pain to heart attacks. The physical stress and strain of snow removal even results in a number of tragic fatalities every year.
So for those folks that will be stuck with the snow shoveling duties this season, we thought we’d offer a few tips for doing the job properly. Because doing the job right is the next-best way to avoid injury. (The best way to avoid injury, of course, is to have TLC handle the chore for you!)
Snow Shoveling Done Right
Done incorrectly, snow shoveling can be a hazardous task. Here are some tips offered by the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons (AAOS) for doing the job right:
• Get Your Doctor’s Clearance. Deaths result every winter from stress-induced heart attacks that occur during snow removal activities. Before the first snowfall of the season, you’d be wise to have a talk with your doctor about your potential susceptibility to becoming a statistic.
• Dress Carefully. Clothing should be water-repellent, and should provide ventilation as well as insulation. Some form of head covering is essential, as are mittens or gloves. Footwear should have slip-resistant soles.
• Warm Up First. Snow shoveling is vigorous exercise. You’d be well advised to warm up your muscles before starting, just as you would before beginning a strenuous physical workout. The AAOS recommends 10 minutes of light exercise before putting shovel to snow.
• Choose Your Snow Shovel Carefully. Snow shovels are available in a myriad of sizes, styles and designs. Be sure not to select one that is too long for you, or too heavy.
• Push Instead of Lift. Lift the snow as little as possible. Instead, try to push the snow out of the area to be cleared. When lifting is unavoidable, be careful to do it properly:
o Squat with your legs spread and knees bent.
o Lift with your legs, keeping your back straight.
o Don’t lift a shovelful at a time. Instead, take many small scoops rather than a single large scoop. (Attack deep snow drifts in layers rather than all at once.)
• Don’t Twist and Toss. Many back injuries occur when people rotate to throw snow off to the side or over the shoulder. The twisting motion can stress and injure your back. Instead, walk the snow to where you want to dump it, holding the shovel close to your body rather than with outstretched arms.
It’s also wise to start clearing snow during the early stages of a snowfall, rather than later. Making several light passes during the snowfall is less physically stressful than waiting until the snow has ended, and then making one pass at a heavy, packed layer of snow.
Please Be Careful!
We hope that you are one of our snow removal customers. If so, we’re glad that we’ll be bearing that burden for you this season.
But if you’ll be handling your own snow removal duties this winter, please be careful. Snow removal is a strenuous activity, one that harbors dangers that often go unheeded – sometimes with tragic results.
Approach the task with caution and heed the tips offered by the AAOS, and you’ll be able to keep the risk to a minimum.