Leave it to the machines: How to avoid injury during snow season

(HIB) – Back and shoulder pain, pulled muscles, slips and falls — these are just a few of the injuries commonly reported during the winter season due to snow removal. When the snow begins to fall, it’s important to make sure you have the proper snow-removal equipment. If you don’t, you’re increasing your risk for serious injury.

Here are some tips to help you stay safe this winter:

Stock up on the necessities

Stop at your local grocery or hardware store and stock up on salt and sand before the snow hits, just to be safe. It won’t go bad — you might even consider buying enough for next winter. Once winter hits, it will fly off the shelves, so try to get ahead of the winter storm rush.

Warm up and stretch your muscles

Before you brave the winter weather, take a few moments inside to stretch your muscles and warm up your joints, especially if the snow you’re removing has been on the ground for a while. When you’ve been cooped up inside, it’s easy to pull a muscle from too much strenuous activity.

Push, don’t lift, when shoveling

In the event that you need to use a shovel, always push the snow, rather than lifting — it’s much better for your back. If you must lift, use your legs as much as possible to avoid straining your back. When shoveling, bend your knees while gathering snow, then straighten appropriately to help the shovel last longer.

Find the right machine

While owning the right snow blower won’t make the snow season any shorter, it can make dealing with it much easier, faster and ultimately safer. With features like electric starters, heated handle grips and remote chute deflectors, you want to make sure you choose the right machine for your needs. Husqvarna’s snow removal machines are a great place to start your search, and you can learn more about the various models and their features.

Take good care of your snow removal equipment

When the calendar gets closer to winter, schedule a time to give your snow machines a checkup. Ensure your machine is in good repair. If anything looks broken, torn or out of place, don’t start the machine. Take it to be repaired by a professional. Before taking your machine out for the first plow:

* Put fresh gas and a new spark plug in the snow blower
* Use a pre-mixed fuel that contains a fuel stabilizer to keep your gas from going bad if your blower sits for long periods of time
* Make sure the tires are full of air and have no punctures

Avoid clogging your snow blower

Work with your snow blower at a brisk pace to avoid clogging, which is the main cause of hand-related snow removal injuries. Using the snow blower several times throughout snowfall will also help to avoid clogging. Should it clog, never reach your hand down the chute and near the blades. Turn the machine off and wait for the blades to fully stop then use a stick or broom to remove the clog.

Don’t let a treacherous winter turn into a spring season of recovering from snow-related injuries. With the right snow removal system in place, you’ll welcome every flake that falls from the sky.

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