Clearing snow off your porch, driveway or sidewalk is a lot easier with a snowblower; however, more than 5,700 people go to emergency rooms each year because of snowblower-related injuries. Troy E. Madsen, M.D., of University of Utah Health Care emergency medicine and surgery, has this advice to help you steer clear of the ER this winter.
Keep Hands Clear of the Chute
Just because the snowblower is turned off doesn't mean it's safe. Tension stores on the rotor blades, which can slice into an object in their way. To avoid injury from the recoil of the blades, stop the engine and wait at least five seconds to clear the chute. Clear it with a stick or a shovelany solid object other than your hand, Madsen says.
Don't allow your mind to wander while operating a snowblower. Distraction can lead to injury, like sticking your hand where it doesn't belong.
Wear Thick Gloves
While gloves won't offer complete protection, they may lessen the damage if there is an accident.
Do Not Tamper with Safety Devices
Do not disable safety devices, shields, switches and guards. They are there for your protection. Also, do not tamper with the enginea hot engine can sear unprotected flesh. Always follow the owner's manual.
Listen to Madsen explain the dangers of other seasonal hazards at The Scope.