Snow Blower Safety
During a December 2010 snowstorm, the Rhode Island Hospital emergency department treated eight patients with snow blower injuries. All were injuries to the fingers or hand, three of which were partial amputations.
The Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates that nearly 6,000 people sustain injuries from snow blowers each year. Most of these are injuries to the fingers and hands; however there have been at least 19 deaths since 1992 attributed to snow blower accidents.
The Injury Prevention Center at Rhode Island Hospital offers the following snow blower safety tips:
- If the snow blower jams, turn it off and disengage the clutch
- Wait five seconds after shutting machine off to allow blades to stop rotating
- Always use a stick, shovel or broom handle to clear impacted snow
- NEVER put your hand, foot, or any body part down the chute or around the blades
- Beware of the recoil of the motor and blades after the debris has been cleared
- Never leave a snow blower unattended while it is running
- Never leave a snow blower running in an enclosed area, people can and have died from carbon monoxide poisoning as a result
- If you have an electric snow blower, be aware of where the power cord is at all times