Each year, hundreds of thousands of people suffer serious damage to their fingers or hands due to the improper handling of snow blowers. Most commonly, the tips of the fingers need to be amputated, so preventing the injury initially is key.
Injuries usually occur when the snow is heavy, wet, or has accumulated several inches. The snow clogs the exit chute of the machine, and the person using the machine tries to unclog this using his/her hand. Unfortunately, the blades still can rotate when the machine is off, and these cut whatever is in their path.
Stay safe this season with these snow blower safety tips:
HOW TO KEEP YOUR SNOW BLOWER FROM CLOGGING
- -Work at a brisk pace. The faster the blades and pace, the less likely the snow will stick.
- -If heavy, wet snow is anticipated, consider snow blowing several times during the snowfall.
- -Some people spray the blades and chute with cooking oil spray. This may help.
IF YOUR SNOW BLOWER CLOGS:
- -Turn it OFF!
- -Disengage the clutch.
- -Wait five seconds after shutting the machine off to allow the impeller blades to stop rotating.
- -ALWAYS use a stick or broom handle to clear the impacted snow.
- -NEVER put your hand down the chute or around the blades.
- -Keep all shields in place. DO NOT REMOVE the safety devices on the machine.
- -Keep your hands and feet away from all moving parts.
- -Stay focused while snow blowing.
- -Wear boots with traction to avoid slipping.
- -Do not drink alcohol or use narcotics before using your snow blower!
- -When being moved or picked up, snow blower should be turned off, spark plug disconnected, and unplugged. Do not try to lift the machine from the bottom, even if it’s not running. The blades are sharp enough to cause serious injury.
- -Never allow children to operate or be near the machine while in use.
If you suffer a snow blower injury, seek medical attention immediately, even for seemingly small injuries.