Safety Tips For Snow Removal

A trusty snow shovel or snow blower is a must during a Minnesota winter. These tips will help keep you safe from strains and other injuries while you keep your driveway and sidewalks clear of snow.


snow removal

Snow blowers make snow removal easier and faster than it used to be, but safety risks remain. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission reports that more than 119,000 people are treated annually for injuries caused while using snow removal tools. Nearly 20,000 of those injuries are caused by snow throwers or blowers.

One of the factors blamed for these injuries is temperature. In freezing weather, people have a tendency to rush through chilly snow removal chores so they can get back into their cozy homes. When we rush, our focus isn’t on our task and we are at risk for preventable injuries. We have some tips to keep you safe from the injuries commonly associated with snow removal.

  • Dress warmly. If your clothing protects you from the cold, you’ll be less tempted to rush through your snow clearing task, and more likely to focus on the job at hand.
  • Practice safe lifting techniques. Instead of lifting large amounts of snow, use your shovel to push now out of the way. If you can’t avoid lifting a few shovelfuls, take small amounts of snow at a time. Don’t bend at the waist to lift; instead, bend and lift with your legs, not your back.
  • Avoid twisting. When you throw snow over your shoulder or off to the side, the twisting motion puts stress on your back. Instead, walk to where you want to pile the snow.
  • Don’t delay. If you clear snow early and often during a snowfall, you’ll be handling less snow at a time, and will avoid having to clear heavy packed snow.
  • Take your time. Stop frequently to rest when you feel tired. If you do experience chest pain, shortness of breath, or other signs of a heart attack, seek immediate medical attention.
  • Read and follow instructions. If you have a snow blower, do read the instructions so you are aware of safety warnings and keep your equipment in good repair.
  • Don’t clear the snow blower while it’s running. If snow packs in the blower, stop the engine—it’s a good idea to unplug the machine too—and wait at least five seconds before you attempt to clear the chute. Use a solid object to remove wet snow or debris; don’t use your hands or feet.
  • Stay with the blower. If you have to leave it unattended, turn off the engine.
  • Be aware of the snow blower cord. People have injured themselves tripping over the cord of an electric snow blower. Make sure you know where the cord is in relation to your feet.

If you bundle up and follow these tips, you’ll safely keep your drive and sidewalks snow-free and benefit from a little winter exercise to boot.

Back pain from snow removal?

Summit Orthopedics is home to the area’s top spine specialists. Our back specialists diagnose spine problems and design custom treatment plans built on a conservative, non-surgical approach. Most patients find relief through treatments including guided injections, specialized physical therapy, biofeedback, exercise, activity modification, and medication. When conservative care does not relieve symptoms, we can discuss surgical options. Together with you, we will determine the right course of action.

Start your journey to a healthy spine: Find your spine expert, request an appointment online, or call us at 651-968-5201 to schedule a spine consultation.

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