Sunday, December 07, 2008

Ergonomic snow shovels

Wendy did a recent blogo-riff on snow shovels. Must be a Canadian thing as Jean had a thing or two to say on the subject last winter. More than likely it's a consideration for those of us middle-aged and beyond, and it just popped on my radar screen and lumbar spine this past week here in Denver.

Ergonomics is the study of people at work, and the science of fitting equipment and work place to worker to optimize performance and minimize injury. "Your online guide to ergonomic snow shovel" says it all:

The gardens, or lawns are covered with snows and the road is also covered with snow that piles up to any feet. The snowfall creates a lot of inconvenience and we wish that the days of snowfall are numbered...The act of removing snow is also back breaking work and many people go to the doctor to rid themselves of the ailment they have got on them during snow shoveling. The snow shovel is an important tool and it becomes very important during the days of snow. ...There is a lot of research going into the making of these snow shovels and the result is different types of snow shovels.

Well, I got a back pain on me when I used our new snow shovel on the first snow this season. My husband, noting that plastic rimmed shovels break easily, bought a metal-edged scoop. Cold metal on wet concrete is an ergonomic no-no. The characteristics of an ergonomically correct snow shovel have been described in exacting terms: plastic blade, 16 1/2" x 14 1/2" with a 42" adjustable shaft for a short person such as I've become, no steel-reinforced edges (note to husband!), and an angular shaft. And ergonomically correct snow shovel reviews are fun to read:

With a shovel like this, the user can thankfully proclaim "Who needs a snowblower?" Of course, snowblowers might make the job of clearing snow easier, but they are expensive, noisy, smelly, and can cause numbness in the hands. The ergonomic shovel will allow the operator to breathe clean air and experience healthy physical exercise. The chances for injury will be reduced as will the snow in the driveways and on the sidewalks of America.

But oh Wendy and Jean, wouldn't you wuv a SnoWovel Wheeled Snow Shovel as pictured above?


kenju said...

You didn't ask me - but I would buy one! Of course, we rarely get enough snow here to make it a necessity, but there was that one year we had 22" all in one fell swoop!

femail doc said...

I'm tempted too KJ, but $165 per Wovel?

Anonymous said...

I am tempted, and we get enough snow to justify the outlay. But my ego is too frail to withstand the stares of our wide-eyed neighbors as we weave our Wovel through the snow!

femail doc said...

I can't even imagine pushing that ridiculous thing down our sidewalk as cars rush by. Maybe the old coots would honk at me!

Laura in L.A. said...

What's "snow?"


Love, Laura

Ann of the Incredible Gift said...

Husband does most of our snow shovelling, but on occasion I take the shovel in my hands and attack the white stuff.

We have plastic shovels, and an ice chopper, like a square hoe with the business end in line with the handle, so if you hold it upright the blade is pointing right at the ice. I've found it to be a big help.

Mauigirl said...

We have an ancient snowblower a friend of ours gave us and it worked the first two years we had it. This year we knew it needed a good tuneup and kept meaning to do it during the summmer...during the fall...and then it snowed and of course we never had done it. And it wouldn't start. So we were stuck with the old fashioned shovels! My back still hurts!

Wendy said...

Hey, I think it looks neat! Thanks for the linky. I hadn't seen it.