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Monthly Archives: Nov 2016

snow removal
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11 Essential Safety Tips For Proper Snow Removal

It’s soon going to be that time of year again; people will soon be swapping their T-shirts and flip flops for heavy coats and winter boots. And instead of hiking or swimming, they will have to be shovelling snow. Removing snow from your home is not the most fun activity, but it is a necessary one— it can also be a dangerous one if it is not done correctly. Shovelling snow is not an activity that should be taken lightly and the number of injuries and hospitalizations related to this activity can attest to that. If you keep the following safety tips in mind, you can keep your home snow free without risking injury.

Safety Tips For Proper Snow Removal

  1. Shovel Only When You Can
  2. While shovelling snow is considered to be a neighbourly gesture, it is not something you should force yourself to do if you are not physically able. If you are easily prone to injury or you have a physical condition that impedes you from performing this task, refrain from doing it. If possible, hire a snow-removal service company to do the job.

  3. Pick the Right Shovel
  4. Pick the right shovel for the job and for your size. If you use a shovel that is too big or too small for you, you risk injuring yourself due to strain or bad posture. As a general rule, snow shovels should be lightweight and the spade not too large.

  5. Dress Appropriately
  6. Dress warmly when you go outside to shovel snow. But if you are going to be shovelling a lot of snow, don’t overdress, as you might find yourself overheating from the strenuous activity. Dress as you would if you were jogging in the cold. Wear boots that offer good traction when working in snow.

  7. Warm Up
  8. As you would before exercise, warm up your muscles. This can help you prevent injuries later on. Also do a bit of stretching if you can.

  9. Push Instead of Lifting
  10. When you are shovelling snow it is always easier to push instead of lifting snow. Lifting snow puts more strain on your body and is less efficient. To avoid lifting, make sure the pile of snow you are creating is within a short distance (not more than a few feet).

  11. Pace Yourself
  12. Don’t go too fast, instead go at a reasonable pace so that you don’t tire easily. Ideally, snow removal is an activity that should be done when you have the time (which is usually not before you go to work), but don’t try to overdo it.

  13. Drink Water
  14. When you’re cold, you are much less inclined to drink water. However, it is still important to stay hydrated even in winter (perhaps even more so), so drink plenty of water when you are engaging in any physical activity. Sports drinks are a good alternative.

  15. Bend Your Knees
  16. Always bend your knees when you are shovelling snow. Make sure the stress goes to your legs, rather than your back. Also, avoid twisting: point your entire body in the general direction of where you want to toss the snow (if you must toss).

  17. Choose the Right Chemicals
  18. There are chemicals that are available to help with snow removal. While they offer convenience, the downside is that they contain chemicals that pose a potential danger to you and/or your pets. Chloride is a common chemical in snow removal products and can irritate and even poison animals that come into contact with it. Use pet- or eco- friendly products instead.

  19. Watch for Ice
  20. Snow is not the only thing you have to worry about, ice presents just as much a problem—and you often won’t know until it is too late. Assume that the area is icy and take appropriate action, such as using salt. Of course, use environmentally friendly salt.

  21. Work From The Ground
  22. If you are attempting to remove snow from your roof, work from the ground. Keep clear of the area where the snow is expected to land and use an instrument that is long enough to allow you to maneuver safely.

Shovelling isn’t the most fun chore, but it can at least be a good workout if you do it safely. Like any other strenuous activity, safety is important. Stay warm, hydrated and practise good posture. Do not do more than what you are able to do and be especially safe when you are removing snow from the roof or if there is ice. If you would like any more advice on snow removal or snow removal products, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us. We can help you find the right tools to get the job done safely and efficiently. Browse our website or give us a call for a free consultation.

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snow removal
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Snow Removal Products And Practices That Are Safe For You And Your Pets

Winter is coming again and, naturally, people resort to known snow removal practices, often utilizing snow removal products. While these products might be effective against snow, they can also have a negative impact on your pets. The chemicals used in snow removal products are often harmful to plants and animals.

Snow Removal: Keeping Yourself And Your Pets Safe

There are safer products you can use, but the best way to remove snow is by doing it manually. It’s the only foolproof way of guaranteeing your pet’s safety while keeping snow off the path. Similarly, people tend to resort to old habits when shovelling snow, which may not be the safest ways. Read on for tips on preventing you and your pets from harm while removing snow effectively.

Pet-Safe Snow Removal Products:

Dogs and cats are generally sensitive to ice and cold, especially when their paws touch with ice. Snow removal products often contain chemicals that can irritate the skin in direct contact; they can also be poisonous if ingested. Additionally, salt between an animal’s paws can get pretty hot.

Dogs Naturally Magazine discusses some of the chemicals you should be aware of when looking for a pet-friendly product.

Chlorides

Chloride is by far the most dangerous chemical used in snow removal (it’s also the cheapest). All of the varieties of chloride should be avoided.

Calcium Magnesium Acetate

Although it’s a relatively safer ice melter, the drawback is that it is not very effective and it doesn’t last as long as other products. It’s still a toxic product and should be used with caution.

Modified Crystalline Carbonyl Diamide

This ingredient is one of the safer products. It can successfully absorb moisture without causing unwanted side effects.

Eco Safe Glycol

This ice melting chemical comes with traction agents and special inhibitors for added safety.

Colorants

If you are using colorants, make sure that they are food grade.

Ecotraction

This is an eco-friendly product that is being marketed by Ecotraction. According to the company’s website, the products is not only safe but good for the environment.

Finally, you might want to think about putting shoes on your pet. If you can find an appropriate size (and your dog takes to it) then this might be one of the safest ways to walk your dog in areas where the chemical is present.

Safe and Ergonomic Snow Shovelling

Sometimes it’s best to simply do it the old fashioned way: grab a shovel and just start digging. Of course, there is a safe way to do this. Removing snow is one of the leading causes of back injuries during the winter season. Here are some of the precautionary measures you should take:

Pick Your Shovel Wisely

Select a shovel with an adjustable handle. If you handle a shovel that is not appropriate for your size, you risk injuring yourself.

Loosen Your Muscles

Snow removal is hard work, so treat it like exercise. Warm up your muscles before you begin. This can be a brisk walk and/or a few stretches.

Push Rather Than Lift

Avoid lifting snow and carrying it across a distance. Instead, push the snow wherever you choose to pile it up.

Proper Lifting Techniques

  • Your body should always be facing the snow you are going to lift. Keep your shoulders square.
  • Bend your knees and make sure that the bulk of the weight falls on your knees rather than your back. (One way to know that you are lifting properly is if your legs are tired.)
  • Go for small amounts at a time rather than large amounts. It requires more stamina but it is safer than trying to do too much at one time.
  • Keep one hand on the handle and another as close to the blade as possible. This allows for the most efficient use of energy and strength.
  • Don’t attempt to toss the snow on the heap, walk instead—make sure you have the pile as close as possible. Use a wheelbarrow if you must, but don’t strain yourself trying to use feats of strength. If you must throw snow, then have you feet pointed in the direction you are tossing the snow.

Alternatives to Shovelling

If shovelling is a risky activity for you, you can use a snowblower. Another alternative is to hire a snow removal company. It might cost a little, but it is the most convenient thing to do­—just make sure that they use chemicals that are pet-friendly or none at all. You can book a snow removal service as early as possible. Check with the weather reports; if there is an impending snow storm then it is a good idea to book a service ahead of time.

You don’t have to use dangerous chemicals to remove snow effectively; there are safe alternatives if you take time to look for them. Avoid chloride in any snow removal product and take care to keep the ice and snow out of your pet’s paws. Likewise, look out for your back when shovelling—use our shovelling tips to avoid unnecessary strain. For more information about snow removal, don’t hesitate to contact us. Alternatively browse our website for a better look at our products.

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