Workplace injuries come in many different forms from slips and falls to muscle sprains and tears. Avoiding injuries is critical in changing workplace culture. The job of removing snow requires repetitive motion. Proper techniques and equipment will help employees stay safe and aid in keeping your safety record clean. Here are some snow removal techniques to assist in training employees.
Driveway Snow Removal
Driveway snow removal may seem like a mundane task. However, if done improperly, it can be an injury waiting to happen. Here are a few vital steps to help keep your employees safe and injury-free while they are keeping the driveway and sidewalks safe for others.
Warm up first. Like with any activity that requires strenuous work, warming up is a necessity when shoveling the driveway or sidewalks. Teaching warm-up techniques to all employees will help them avoid muscle fatigue and strains.
Use proper equipment. Using a shovel that conforms to ergonomic standards reduces the stress on the body and lowers the risk of injuries. Ergonomic shovels tend to be lighter than traditional designs, meaning less strain with each movement. Snow is heavy, and the shovel shouldn't add to the job.
A proper stance is essential for avoiding injury. Start with legs spread about hip-width apart and keep the shovel close to your body. Push the snow in narrow lines to prevent the need for heavy lifting.
Lift properly. If lifting is necessary, keep the load small and use proper lifting techniques. The shovel should never be full. Snow is heavy by nature, and lifting too much results in muscle injuries and back pain.
Take breaks as needed. This means listening to your body and the signals that indicate fatigue. Taking a fifteen-minute break gives the body the rest it needs and helps avoid physical injury. This also keeps you from long periods of exposure to extreme cold and helps you avoid frostbite.
Pay attention to your body's signals. During snow removal, watch for signs of fatigue or injury like aching in your back and/or legs, or neck and shoulder fatigue. If you experience shortness of breath and/or chest pain, stop immediately. If it does not quickly resolve, seek immediate medical attention. If you have a previous medical condition, consult your personal physician first, before snow shovelling.
Snow Removal Tips
Early preparation for snowy situations will help take some of the risks out of the task of snow removal. Here are just a few simple and easy tips to make this task a bit less tedious.
⦁ Start early. Though it may seem like a useless task, start shoveling as soon as the snow starts accumulating. In this way, employees will avoid the heavy lifting needed for deeper snowdrifts.
⦁ Spread salt as you go. Generally, if it is cold enough to snow, it is already freezing. As you remove the snow, what remains will melt slightly and begin to refreeze. Now, your employees are dealing with snow and ice, increasing the risks of injuring. Adding a layer of salt or sand as the snow is shoveled away will leave traction for the next pass and also make removal easier the second time around.
⦁ Consider equipment. While shovels are a good fit for smaller driveways and sidewalks, snow blowers or snowplows may better suit larger areas. Ensure that your employees have the right equipment for the size of the task.