Snow Shoveling Safety Tips
Now that we’re buried in snow again, consider that shoveling snow by hand has been proven to increase the risk of a heart attack, not to mention the number shoveling-related back injuries. These are some of the most important reasons to hire a company for snow removal services, but if you must shovel by hand, at least follow these snow removal tips:
- Prepare before you start. Drink fluids so you’re fully hydrated. Warm up your major muscle groups by stretching.
- Get rest and get help. Take frequent breaks, especially if the snow is wet and heavy. Go inside and have some hot chocolate. If you have older kids in the house, why aren’t they helping?
- Use an ergonomic shovel. This lets you push rather than lift snow out of the way.
- Put physics to work. Leverage the shovel close to your upper body with one hand near the blade.
- Try to keep your back straight. Use the major muscles in your legs and shoulders for lifting.
6 Tips on Hiring a Professional Snow Removal Company
- Get several estimates. Prices can vary widely and are usually based on the amount of work, which takes into account the layout of the property, size of the area to be cleared, and whether the customer, in addition to plowing, requests shoveling or snow blowing to remove excess snow from other areas. Remember, the least expensive service is not always the best service.
- Ask the contractor about additional charges and price options. Beside the quoted price, there are sometimes additional charges during large storms. After the snow reaches a certain depth, some snow removal contractors charge by the inch, so you’ll want to find out how the company calculates the size of the snowfall. Other contractors may offer a fixed price for an entire season, regardless of the amount of snow.
- Make sure you know what services you’re getting. Find out exactly what’s included in the estimate. Are the walks and steps included? What about the cost of sand and salt? Will the company clear only after the storm, or during the snowfall as well? If the contractor has to come back, is there an additional charge? Ask if the company will remove heavy snow loads from a building roof top? Is there an additional charge?
- Ask for references and check them out.
- Check online for reviews on the contractor you’re planning to use.
- Do not settle on an agreement over the telephone. The contractor should provide you with a written agreement. A representative should come out to examine your property and make notes about the service requested and potential obstacles. Before you sign the agreement, ask who will be responsible for damages, such as cracked driveways or broken gates. Ask if the contractor is insured or bonded. Also, find out how you can terminate the agreement if necessary.
Your expectations should be realistic. Keep in mind that a snow storm makes traveling difficult for you and the contractor. During major snowfalls, workers are required to use more caution when plowing and traveling, therefore it may take longer for the contractor to reach you and do the contracted work.