Winter is here, and although the season has been unusually mild so far, we know snow is coming. Prepare yourself in advance with seasonal tips for snow removal and de-icing.
In addition to using the right equipment, you need to prepare yourself physically to do the work. Complete a good stretch that targets your hamstrings, back and shoulders, to prevent injuries that may occur while shovelling. Wear multiple lightweight layers that cover as much skin as possible, and can be easily removed to avoid overheating. Protect your hands with gloves or mittens, and wear boots with non-skid or non-slip rubber soles to prevent falls.
Proper equipment for snow removal is important. Ergonomically shaped shovels with a curved handle helps prevent injury, and reduce fatigue. Avoid using heavy shovels with metal blades; try lightweight shovels with plastic blades instead.
It’s all about technique when shoveling snow. Use your leg muscles as much as possible, to avoid strains and pulls. Push or walk to dump snow, rather than throwing it onto snow banks. Lifting snow properly can prevent neck and shoulder injuries.
Instead of letting snow pile up, make sure to shovel frequently. It’s easier to shovel fresh snow than when it becomes packed and dense. On a bright day, expose part of your driveway to the sun. Dark colours are less reflective than white snow, and will help melt remaining snow.
For people suffering from back and chronic issues, snow blowers are a good alternative for snow removal. Test your equipment before the start of the season, to ensure everything is in good working order. Keep a snow brush, spray de-icer and spray lubricant handy, to avoid ice and compacted snow buildup.
Salting is the most popular method of de-icing driveways and stairs, but can also be harmful to pets, soil and plants. Other natural alternatives to use include sand, bird seed, coffee grinds, and kitty litter.
Winter weather can be a challenge for snow removal, but using the right tools and preparing yourself for the task at hand is half the battle.