Home > Tips/Resources > Fact Sheet Library > Fact Sheets: Safety How-Tos
Printer Friendly Version

While shoveling snow can be good exercise, it can also be deadly for optimistic shovelers who take on more than they can handle. Following a few precautions will help you get a handle on safe shoveling:
  • Older persons, or those who are relatively inactive, should be especially careful. If you have a history of heart trouble, check with your doctor before engaging in any shoveling activity.

  • Avoid shoveling after eating or while smoking.

  • Take it easy. Snow shoveling is a weight lifting exercise that raises your heart rate and blood pressure. Warm up before starting the job and stretch both before and after shoveling.

  • If possible, shovel only fresh snow that is still relatively powdery. It is easier to shovel than wet, packed-down snow.

  • Push the snow forward rather than lifting it out of the way; pick up only small amounts when needed. Your back will thank you.

  • As with any lifting activity, use your legs, not your back. Your legs should be bent with your back straight. Bend and "sit" into the movement, allowing your large muscle groups to do most of the work.

  • Never work to the point of exhaustion. Take frequent breaks. If your chest feels tight, stop immediately.

  • Dress as you would for any outdoor activity. Dressing in layers is the best. Take extra precautions for keeping the extremities warm.

National Safety Council