No production oriented sidewalk crew member should be utilizing any type of “shovel” when moving snow from a sidewalk. This can lead to numerous, unnecessary workman’s compensation claims due to the fact that most “shoveling” requires bending and improper use of back muscles. Supply these workers with “snow pushers” that will not allow actual shoveling of snow. Snow is then “pushed” to either side of the walkway, rather than lifted off the walkway surface.
If the snow is deep and requires the use of a snowblower, provide ramps to allow the snowblower to be rolled off the truck instead of lifted. Prior to the season, have an instructional session with sidewalk snow removal personnel so that they know the proper way to direct the snow from the discharge chute. Additionally, make the operators review the owner’s manual – paying special attention to the ‘safety section’. These individuals also need to know the proper way to change shear pins, check oil, and the proper method for starting the unit (if it is not ‘electric start’).
Leading snowblower manufacturers tell us that THE number one cause of operator injury comes from trying to unplug an iced up machine without turning off the engine (and consequently the snowblower). As elementary as it may seem, you should stress that the unit be turned off, key removed and spark plug wire be disconnected prior to doing any service to the unit. Additionally, while smoking can shorten anyone’s life span, filling up the snowblower with gasoline while smoking a cigarette can shorten even more.