Snow Removal Safety

As winter blankets our surroundings in a serene layer of snow, the task of snow removal becomes a necessary yet potentially hazardous activity. Whether you’re shoveling by hand or using a snow thrower, safety should be the top priority. Here’s a comprehensive guide to ensure you stay injury-free and enjoy the winter wonderland responsibly.


Before Shoveling

Do you have any conditions that could make shoveling more dangerous like a heart condition? Consult with your healthcare provider before engaging in heavy shoveling and make sure you are ready to go. Avoid shoveling immediately after smoking, eating, or consuming caffeine to prevent extra stress on your heart.

It is also important to consider proper attire and physical preparation. Layer up with non-cotton clothing to stay warm and dry. Protect your extremities from frostbite with a hat, scarf, and gloves. Hydration is equally important—stay hydrated before, during, and after shoveling, even if you don’t feel thirsty. To minimize the risk of muscle and join injuries, be sure to warm-up before you shovel. Stretch your arms, legs, shoulders, and back before tackling the task at hand.

While Shoveling

While shoveling, be mindful of your surroundings and your form. Exercise caution and watch for hidden ice to prevent potential slips and falls; consider adopting the “penguin walk” technique for enhanced stability on icy surfaces. Prioritize safety over speed by taking it slow. Pace yourself and take breaks when you need them. Protect your back and shoulders by bending your knees and lifting with your legs. You can also consider pushing the snow instead of lifting to reduce strain. Listening to your body is extremely important. If you feel discomfort or fatigue, take a break, or stop shoveling altogether.

Snowblower Safety

Operating a snowblower is an excellent alternative to shoveling, but don’t skimp on safety precautions. Steer clear of loose clothing that could become entangled in moving machinery parts. In case of a clog, turn off the machine and use the designated clearing tool—never attempt to remove the clog with your hands or feet. For gas-powered models, wait for the machine to cool before refueling and never operate it in enclosed spaces.

Riverwood Physical Therapist, Marc Carley, suggests, “If a person would like to get some exercises to prepare for snow removal season, they could schedule an appointment with a physical therapist. It is always good to work smart instead of hard and plan before you begin. Don’t be afraid to ask for help or hire someone to remove heavy snow.”

Master the art of snow removal, stay safe, and enjoy this winter season responsibly.

To schedule an appointment with Riverwood, call (888) 270-1882 or visit