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Be safe when shoveling

November 4, 2009 at 11:39 am | Category: Remodeling Contractor



Shovelling can be more than a simple annoyance. It’s extremely hard work that can even be dangerous for those who aren’t in great shape, have a history of health problems, or like most of us – haven’t done it for a while.
Here’s some important information you need to have on a day where you’ll likely be digging out the shovel, from Toronto Public Health:
Preparation
Talk to your doctor about this activity and your health status before winter season arrives.
Think twice if you:
•have had a heart attack or have other forms of heart disease
•have high blood pressure or high cholesterol levels
•are a smoker
•lead a sedentary lifestyle
Consider hiring a student or using a volunteer service if you are a senior.
Shovel at least 1-2 hours after eating and avoid caffeine and nicotine.
Warm up first (walk or march in place for several minutes before beginning).
Start slow and continue at a slow pace (Suggestion: shovel for 5-7 minutes and rest 2-3 minutes).
Drink lots of water to prevent dehydration.
Shovel early and often: new snow is lighter than heavily packed/partially melted snow
Take frequent breaks.
Tools
Shovel:
Sturdy yet lightweight is best (a small plastic blade is better than a large metal blade)
An ergonomically correct model (curved handle) will help prevent injury and fatigue
Spray the blade with a silicone-based lubricant (snow does not stick and slides off).
Clothing:
Wear multiple layers and cover as much skin as possible
Wear a hat and scarf (make sure neither block your vision)
Wear mittens (tend to be warmer than gloves)
Wear boots with non-skid/no-slip rubber soles.
Technique
Always try to push snow rather than lifting it.
Protect your back by lifting properly and safely: stand with feet at hip width for balance, hold the shovel close to your body, space hands apart to increase leverage, bend from your knees not your back, tighten your stomach muscles while lifting, avoid twisting while lifting
Walk to dump snow rather than throwing it.
When snow is deep, shovel small amounts (1-2 inches at a time) at a time.
If the ground is icy or slippery, spread salt, sand or kitty litter to create better foot traction.
Fast Facts
Shovelling snow is strenuous activity that is very stressful on the heart.
Exhaustion makes you more susceptible to frostbite, injury and hypothermia.
Stop shovelling and call 911 if you have: discomfort or heaviness in the chest, arms or neck, unusual or prolonged shortness of breath, a dizzy or faint feeling, excessive sweating or nausea and vomiting.
And remember, winter won’t last forever. It just seems like it.
Getting Help
Under a bylaw passed in 1999, Toronto residents are required to clear the snow and ice off the sidewalks in front of their homes or office buildings within 12 hours after the snow stops. If not, the city will do it for them and add it onto their tax bill.
But seniors or the disabled can get it done for free, a program that’s survived all the cutbacks at City Hall.
To find out more, call (416) 392-7768


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