While it is one of the quieter times of year in the lawn and garden, winter can be one of the most dangerous times. The cold weather and necessary tasks can be quite hazardous, and often bring injury. Here are some of the top safety issues to be wary of in the winter time, and how to make sure you don’t fall victim to them.
Injuries from Shoveling Snow
So many injuries occur from shoveling snow improperly. Back injuries are the most common, due to the repetitive movement and the underestimation of just how heavy the snow is.
The first thing to do is make sure to buy an ergonomic snow shovel, such as the one shown above. These shovels help the user to stand straighter, helping them to concentrate on using their legs for lifting. It also reduces the temptation to turn while bent over, something that strains muscles that are rarely used.
The second thing to do is to make sure to warm up before you get down to work. Sure, this may add some time to your efforts, but ten minutes of loosening up can save months of pain.
Once you start shoveling, make sure to pace yourself. While slips and back strains can injure, pushing yourself too hard can lead to heart issues. Strain on the heart can be fatal, so take breaks often and let your heart rate come back down if it gets too high. Take an extra safety precaution and let your other half, child, or neighbor know you’ll be clearing snow and ask them to check on you every once in a while.
Slipping and falling on ice is always a concern, especially as it can be difficult to see at times. Always assume that there is ice on the ground when the weather drops below freezing – black ice is difficult to detect until you’re right on top of it. Safety on ice is difficult, but there are certain steps that can be taken to make sure your next step doesn’t end up in a spill.
Your best bet for ice safety is to make sure your shoes or boots have good tread on them – slick soles are dangerous. Always make sure to put down something for traction, such as kitty litter, and something for ice melt – look for the environmentally sound options.
Especially after storms, keep your eyes up – heavily laden branches can snap at a moments notice, while large hunks of ice can be just as dangerous. Both of these can lead to serious head injuries, including concussions.
Wear goggles or safety glasses as often as possible. Ice shards, salt, and snowflakes can all fly up into your eyes and cause severe irritation. Also, when possible, work with your back to the wind to keep debris from being blown into your face.
So make sure to stay safe when taking care of your winter tasks.