Safer Snow Blower Useplanning ahead // on Thursday February 2, 2017
It’s no secret that slips and falls are a common cause of winter injuries – who hasn’t taken a spill on an icy walkway at one point or another? But even snow and ice removal poses its own set of safety concerns. If you missed our recent post on shoveling safety, check it out here.
It’s especially important to practice caution when operating a snow blower. More than 15,000 people were injured using snow blowers in 2015, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. Hands and fingers fare the worst injury-wise (it’s never a good idea to try and clear a clog with your hands), but back strain and overexertion are other risks.
Clear snow quickly, easily AND safely by following these snow blower safety tips from Consumer Reports:
- Never wear loose pants, jackets, or scarves, which can get tangled in a snow blower’s moving parts and pull you in with them.
- Wear earplugs or other hearing protection, especially with a gas-powered model, which typically runs above the 85 decibels at which hearing damage can occur.
- Before the snow gets too deep, remove doormats, sleds, boards, wires, newspapers, and anything else from the area you’ll clear to avoid clogs and damage to the machine.
- Don’t let children operate a snow blower. And keep people and pets far away from the vicinity of where you’re clearing.
- Protect yourself from carbon-monoxide poisoning by starting and running a gas-powered snow blower outside, never in a garage, shed, or other enclosed area—-even if the door is open.
- For an electric model, use an outdoor extension cord rated for your model, connected to an outlet with ground-fault-circuit-interrupting (GFCI) protection. Then be sure to keep the cord safely away from the spinning auger while working.
- Turn off the engine of a gas snow blower or unplug the cord of an electric model before clearing a clog at the auger or discharge chute. And use a clearing tool or a broom handle to clear the clog—never your hands or feet, even if you’re wearing gloves: A stationary auger and impeller are often under enough belt tension to harm hands and feet, even with the engine or electric motor off.
- Wait until a gas model’s engine is cool before refueling to avoid igniting the gasoline.