Snow Shoveling Safety

Jan 15, 2020 | Outdoor Living

Snow Shoveling Safety Tips


January is the snowiest month of the year for Maryland, so chances are you’ll be spending a good chunk of the month shoveling and clearing off your driveway, sidewalks, and porches. Thankfully, snowblowers have made this a far easier task than in decades past, but individuals still must be careful when spending long periods of time out in the cold. Play it safe this winter by following these shoveling safety tips.


Dress Warmly When Snow Shoveling

Maryland winters are not as extreme as those of the northern states, but it’s still necessary to dress properly when spending extended periods of time outdoors. Even in a mild winter the area could experience an Arctic blast that blankets the region in bone-chilling temperatures, so wear several layers of clothing before heading out. Otherwise, failing to dress warmly makes your body work extra hard to keep you warm, which puts additional strain on your heart. When snow shoveling, gloves also are extremely important, and not just because of frostbite. The colder your hands are, the more your heart constricts, which further strains the heart by limiting the amount of blood it receives. Finally, always wear sturdy footwear with rubber treads to reduce the risk of slips and falls when shoveling. 


Watch for Falling Objects

Exercise caution around trees, as heavy snow and high winds may bring branches crashing to the ground. Icicles also pose a risk for both you and your home. Heavy accumulations can bring down the gutter, and falling icicles have been known to cause serious injury and result in around 15 deaths in America each year. Even on cold days, the sun’s rays can melt an icicle enough to loosen it and send it hurtling to the ground. Use a broom to knock down what you can, but do it gently to avoid damaging the gutter and always make sure the area is clear of people and pets.


Check Your Concrete

Everyone knows the dangers of slipping on ice, but tripping is also a shoveling safety concern. Individuals easily stumble and fall when walking on uneven sidewalks or steps, especially when covered with snow. In fact, the winter precipitation may have sparked the damage, and it will certainly cause the problem to worsen. As the freeze-thaw cycle forces concrete to expand and contract, it opens the door for cracks and gaps to develop and moisture to seep in. Water droplets then expand as they freeze, making the material swell, sometimes even disrupting the soil. Furthermore, depressions in the concrete lead to pooling water, which, once frozen, make thick chunks of ice. Be careful when treating these areas. Using a pick could damage the surface, while rock salt and some chemical-based melting products will harm concrete’s structural integrity.


Cracked and chipped concrete also allows for moisture seepage and worsening conditions. But don’t let concrete problems give you the winter woes. When it comes to paving companies in Maryland, Excel Fencing & Decking leads the way. Our professionals can quickly and efficiently handle concrete repairs, sidewalk replacements, or any other problems you encounter this winter.