The dangers of shoveling snow and how to avoid them

The dangers of shoveling snow and how to avoid them

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - The combination of sleet with snow and cold temperatures is a recipe for disaster. People underestimate just how much shoveling takes out of them.

WAVE 3 News Commercial Production Manager Gary Pyles ended up in the hospital after a slip on the ice on Saturday.

“I had a shovel out there to kind of chip away some ice,” Pyles said. “I was just repositioning, and my feet just shot out from under me.”

After hitting his head hard, Pyles had to go for a CT scan on Monday.

“Woke up this morning and had a little bit of double vision,” Pyles said.

He is OK and suffering from some vertigo, but in this weather, people can get seriously hurt doing things such as clearing ice and shoveling snow.

“We definitely see an uptick in injuries with this type of weather,” Louisville Division of Fire Major Bobby Cooper said.

Cooper says the fire department responds to a lot of medial calls, and no one should underestimate how they can get hurt.

“Back injuries we see a lot of those when people are trying to lift the snow all the time,” Cooper said.

The National Safety Council recommends the following tips to shovel safely:

  • Do not shovel after eating or while smoking.
  • Take it slow and stretch out before starting.
  • Shovel only fresh, powdery snow as it’s lighter.
  • Push the snow rather than lifting it.
  • Use a small shovel or only partially fill the shovel if it has to be lifted.
  • Lift with the legs, not the back.
  • Do not work to the point of exhaustion.
  • Know the signs of a heart attack, and stop immediately and call 911 if experiencing any of them.

“They are exerting themselves in a way their body is not used to, their heart is not sued to,” Cooper said. “There is tragic consequences for that.”

Also, he said to dress warm in layers and always tell someone before going out shoveling. Be careful with hypothermia and frostbite which can set in quickly.

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