Winter Safety with Shovelling and Walking
Snow! It’s unavoidable in winter. Winter safety is important and there is typically an increase in acute injuries in the winter months from slips and falls or shovelling. Thankfully, with the shift in weather there are some precautions you can take to help prevent accidental injuries.
Slips and falls can happen anywhere when the ground is icy. That being said, there is an increased risk of falls during transitions, like getting in and out of your vehicle or going up and down stairs. This is because during transitions we tend to have an altered center of gravity which increases the risk.
A few tips to avoid slips and falls in the winter include:
- Wear quality footwear with good grip
- Take smaller steps when the ground is slippery or you don’t know the condition of the ground (i.e. getting out of the car)
- Stabilize yourself by holding onto handrails and the car door when transitioning
- Keep your driveway and sidewalk well salted
When it comes to shoveling (or even using the snow blower) low back and shoulder injuries tend to be the most common. The good news is that there are strategies and habits that you can implement to help reduce the risk of injuries.
- Warm up before your shovel: This can include a walk around the block, around the house or doing a couple sets of stairs inside the house.
- Push the snow to the edge of your driveway/sidewalk and lift small loads each time to decrease the weight of the snow.
- Take breaks – Shovel for 10-15 minutes then shift your task. This can include clearing off the car(s), salting the areas you have already shovelled or simply resting for a couple of minutes.
- Shovel often – Try not to let the snow pile up too much. Shovelling throughout the snowfall can help decrease the weight of the snow and the amount of time you shovel, decreasing your risk of injury.
In the end it’s about taking your time, and focusing on the task at hand. Warm up, brace yourself and take smaller steps on icy surfaces to help decrease your risk of injuries this winter.