Five tips to safely shovel snow


With the the Mid-Atlantic recovering from a major snowstorm, Snow & Ice Management Association (SIMA), the North American trade association representing snow management professionals, has these five tips for safely shoveling snow.

“Shoveling snow has a number of health risks associated with it, including the most serious one— a heart attack,” said Martin B. Tirado, CAE, Executive Director, SIMA. “Other more common health risks include dehydration, back injuries, pulled muscles, broken bones and frostbite. But the good news is there are ways to safely shovel snow,”

Here are SIMA’s tips for safe snow shoveling:

TIP #1: Stay on top of the snow. We aren’t suggesting that you make snow angels but when there’s heavy snow, the best advice is to stay ahead of the storm. SIMA recommends that you clear the snow every few inches instead of waiting for the snow to stop falling.

TIP #2: Layer it up. Wear loose layers of clothing so you can peal a layer off if you get hot. Avoid wearing wool or manmade material because they don’t allow perspiration to evaporate— better choices are cotton and silk. And when it comes to footwear, waterproof boots with good traction will help ensure that you don’t slip and fall. They aren’t pretty but they are critical to preventing a fall.

TIP #3: Push, don’t lift. Sounds like something a high school wrestling coach might say, but if you push the snow to the side rather than trying to lift the snow, you exert less energy, thereby placing less stress on your body.

TIP #4: Do an exercise warm-up. Although you aren’t running a marathon, shoveling snow is exercise. So warm up before you start with some simple stretches that engage your entire body—especially your arms, legs and back. Drink plenty of water and take breaks when you need them.

TIP #5: Call and text. We’re not suggesting that you make calls and text while shoveling snow, but it is important to have your cell phone on you so you can make a call in event of an emergency.

Following these tips will help ensure that you survive and thrive through winter. For more snow and ice removal tips or to interview a snow management professional, visit SIMA.

Founded in 1996, the Snow & Ice Management Association is the North American trade association for professionals involved with the snow and ice industry. For more information, visit: