MetLife, Your Life®

Simple Tips for Life’s Unpredictable Moments

How to Shovel Snow

Make sure you shovel snow the right—and safe—way.

Thousands of people visit emergency rooms each year with injuries sustained while shoveling snow. Prevent a trip to the ER by following these easy safety rules:

Tackle the job early. Fresh snow is lighter and easier to shovel than packed snow. Clearing 1 foot of heavy snow from a 16×30-foot driveway equates to clearing approximately 4 tons of snow.

Dress appropriately. Avoid hypothermia by dressing in layers. As your body temperature rises, you can shed clothing to reduce sweating. Also be sure to wear a hat, gloves and slip-resistant boots.

Warm up first. Get your blood flowing by marching in place for a few minutes. To avoid pulling a muscle, take time to stretch your arms, legs and back.

Pick a good shovel. The right shovel can make a huge difference. Select the appropriate tool for the job:

Pace yourself. Take your time—it’s not a race. To reduce the risk of injury, shovel for about 5 to 7 minutes, then take a 2- to 3-minute break.

Use proper posture and technique. Always push snow rather than lift it. If you must lift snow:

If your snowblower does the heavy lifting, review this snowblower safety article before firing it up.

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