Snow Removal Safety: How Shoveling Can Put You at Risk

  • An older man uses a snow blower to clear his driveway.
If you’re older or have a history of heart disease, shoveling snow can be deadly.

First of all, the work is strenuous. Even worse, you’re out in the cold, which can increase both your heart rate and blood pressure. Add to all that the fact that most of us are less active in general in winter, so we’re not exactly in the best shape to begin with.

Let’s look at the numbers: A 2011 study done by the Research Institute at Nationwide Children's Hospital and The Ohio State University College of Medicine analyzed data from emergency departments over a 17-year period.

During that time period, about 195,000 people were treated for snow-shoveling related injuries. The vast majority suffered slip-related injuries. However, 7 percent of patients were seen for cardiac events, resulting in 1647 deaths.

Are You at Risk?

Doctors say that if you have any sort of heart condition at all, you simply should not shovel snow.

Even if your heart is healthy, you should still be sure to dress warmly, take breaks when you feel winded and stop if you’re tired. This is not the time to push yourself.

Experts recommend pushing the snow (not lifting it). If you must lift, lift smaller amounts and use your legs, not your back. Hopefully, it goes without saying, but you should never smoke while shoveling snow.

An Alternative to Snow Shoveling for Seniors

As we get older, it’s worth asking if the risks of shoveling snow are worth it.

One alternative, of course, is to hire the job out.

But what if you enjoy the crisp air, the quiet, and the good feeling that comes with getting the job done (as well as the cost savings). You can still experience all of that, but with a snow blower.

You’ll still want to take many of the same precautions, like dressing warmly, not smoking and taking it slow. But the risks are considerably less. Remember to be careful not to run your blower in an enclosed space, which can lead to carbon monoxide poisoning.

How’s Your Garage Looking?

So, you’ve invested in a snow blower—and now your garage or shed is packed.

That’s life, right? You solve one problem and create another. But the good news is that you’re protecting your health—and your storage problems are easy to fix.

At StorageMart, we offer affordable self storage units that range from about the size of a closet to the size of a garage—or even bigger. They can be rented on a month-by-month basis and are always clean and well lit.

If a little extra space would make your life easier, consider checking out our storage unit guide or rent a unit online today.

About Sarah Little

Sarah Little, Marketing Director at StorageMart, holds a Bachelor's Degree in Business Administration. She serves as Vice President on the Board of Directors for the Central Missouri Foster Care & Adoption Association, a non-profit group dedicated to improving the lives of children.

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