Snow season has arrived, and it’s time to get those snowblowers out of the shed. While they're a helpful and convenient solution for clearing your driveway and sidewalks, they can also become dangerous if not handled properly.
According to the Consumer Products Safety Commission, an estimated 3,000 Americans are treated in Emergency Rooms for snowblower-related accidents yearly. These injuries usually occur when snow is heavy, wet or has accumulated in several inches. Many of the injuries attained from snowblowers result in amputation, so it’s important to take a few safety measures when operating this type of equipment.
Snowblower accidents are most likely to occur when the equipment gets clogged. To keep your snowblower from clogging, work at a brisk pace to prevent the snow from sticking to the blades. If excessive snow is anticipated, consider snow blowing several times during the snowfall. Avoid additional debris like gravel or leaves from entering your snowblower.
Some people say spraying your blades and chute with cooking oil can help as well.
If your snowblower does clog, turn it off, disengage the clutch and wait for the blades to stop. Always use a stick or clearing tool to clear the snow from the machine, and never put your hand down the chute or around the blades.
While using your snowblower this season, you should remember to stay focused while operating the equipment and to wear appropriate clothing and shoes to avoid slipping and other related accidents. Keep hands and feet away from moving parts and children and pets should always been kept at a safe distance.
When moving your snowblower, be sure the machine is turned off and never try lifting it from the bottom. Start your snowblower outdoors to prevent filing your shed or garage with dangerous carbon monoxide fumes.
If you experience a snow blower accident, you should seek medical attention immediately, even for seemingly small injuries.