Safe Shovelling! How to Not Break Your Back

Safe Shovelling! How to Not Break Your Back

Getting rid of Calgary’s snowfall is back-breaking work. Last year we saw unprecedented amounts fall on the city, and although we at Mirage love our job as snow removal services professionals, we hope this year won’t be quite as bad.

Although we have tons of heavy-duty equipment to help with the big jobs, such as snowplows, snow blowers, snow sweepers, loaders, and a fleet of trucks, for our smaller residential clients often the best tool to use is a shovel. Although efficient, shovelling results in thousands of accidents a year. The most common injuries are broken bones from falls, back injuries from improper lifting and heart attacks from over-exertion. Those over the age of 55 are four times more likely to suffer a heart attack while shovelling.

With another Calgary winter creeping upon us (which actually started with a vengeance in September), we’ve already gone over safe shovelling techniques with our staff to help avoid injuries. Choosing the right clothing, tools, and techniques will make the snow removal job safer and easier.

Snow Removal Services in Calgary 

First of all, don’t forget that you don’t have to do it all alone! We specialize in serving the southeast area of Calgary, and provide snow removal services for both commercial and residential properties. If you live in Auburn Bay, Chaparral, Chaparral Valley, Copperfield, Cranston, Douglasdale, Heritage Pointe, Lake Bonavista, Mahogany, McKenzie Lake, Mackenzie Towne, Maple Ridge, New Brighton, Odgen/Lynwood/Millican, Parkland, Riverbend, Sundance, Walden, or Willow Park, contact us for a custom quote for snow removal services. You’ll be surprised to learn just how affordable we are.

Avoid the cold and save your labour. Our snow removal crews work around the clock to keep your home or business clear and fully compliant with all Calgary bylaws. As an added benefit, you’ll also deter thieves by having our team remove your snow.

We offer:

  • Prompt services for both residential and commercial properties
  • Expert crews with advanced snow removal equipment
  • Service for parking lots, driveways, walkways, and ice management
  • Sanding services for added vehicle traction on paved surfaces
  • Ice and slippery spot treatment

Shovelling Tips

If you insist on doing it alone, we support you! One thing we suggest is to be thoughtful about your choice of shovel. We keep a number of different types on each of our trucks to not only allow our employees to pick their preference, but also to make sure we can reach every nook and cranny of each property we visit. We’ll make sure to speak with you about your snow clearing preferences so that we meet every one of your needs.

Shovels are something most of us take for granted, but they are actually complex and highly varied in their design. Choosing the right shovel for the task at hand will make the job quicker and easier.

Aluminum and plastic shovels are lighter, and they’re a better choice if you’re clearing out the aftermath of a lighter dusting of snow. After a heavy snowfall, you’re better-served by using a shovel with a sturdier wooden or fiberglass handle. Choose a wide-mouth design for shovelling your driveway, and shovels with narrower profiles are better for clearing sidewalks and walkways.

Watch Your Back

The weight of snow makes it surprisingly easy to incur an injury if you don’t use the right shovelling technique. Muscle and back injuries are common, and cold conditions can make you more prone to hurting yourself.

  • Keep a lower profile, and try to concentrate your balance in your body’s central core
  • Use your legs, not your back, when lifting a full shovel
  • Plant your legs and pivot when emptying a shovelful of snow into a pile; don’t twist your body using your back
  • Avoid jerking or extending your arms when emptying your shovel

Also remember to always shovel with the wind, and, if possible, use it to help you move the snow more efficiently.

Layer Up

Calgary’s freezing winter climate, layers are the key. Remember to always pay attention to your temperature and avoid sweating, as body heat and cold temperatures aren’t a healthy mix and will make you susceptible to catching a cold, or worse.

The key is to layer your clothing. Multiple thin layers of clothing are far better than a small number of thick layers. Your temperature will rise as you work, since the body tends to burn more calories in cold weather. Layering your clothing helps you stay in control of your comfort, since you can add and remove clothing as needed while you work.

Here’s a breakdown of how to layer your clothes:

  • Begin with a light, thin, full-length base layer. Long underwear and long-sleeved undershirts will keep drafts at bay.
  • For your first middle layer, choose fabrics like wool or polyester. They are both warm, yet breathable. 
  • Add a thicker jacket as your first external layer, then supplement with a waterproof, wind-breaking shell.
  • Remember to take care of your extremities. Winter hats are essential for preventing heat loss, and mittens are better than gloves for protecting your fingers.

Choose the Right Shoes

While you may be tempted to throw on whatever shoes are closest before you head out the door, it’s far better to wear specially designed winter footwear. Winter shoes and boots have unique tread patterns that help you maintain your grip in slippery conditions. They also have superior insulation, helping your feet stay warmer for a longer period of time.

You should also step carefully when you’re outdoors in the snow. Slip and fall accidents can cause serious injuries, and an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

Snow Removal Services Plus Year-Round Coverage From Mirage

In addition to reliable and affordable snow removal services for both residential and commercial properties, Mirage Landscaping offers year-round services including landscape construction, landscape maintenance, and a comprehensive range of lawn and garden care services

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