A study at the University of Arkansas analyzed over 30,000 snowblower accidents from 2002 to 2008. Can you suggest the main reason the accident happened? Yes, clogged machine.
In wet snow conditions, snow blowers often get clogged, and unclog them with a stick is not often very efficient. The easier way is to stick one’s hands into the machine, but that’s the leading cause of the accident. The study also found that inside all that clogged snow, a rotational force is built up just enough to do damage even when the engine is cut completely off, which is the perfect recipe for a snowblower accident.
Unfortunately, we had our share of accidents for this exact reason. Since then, we have created strict safety guidelines for our associates to follow, and we reinforce them during our seasonal training and before every snow snowstorm.
Our guideline was inspired by the safety guideline offered in the American Society for Surgery of the Hand and by our own observation of the correct and incorrect use of snowblower machines:
- NEVER put your hand or fingers near the moving parts, intake, or output areas of snowblowers.
- NEVER remove stuck objects with your hands. The blades are sharp and can cause serious injury even while it’s turned off.
- Turn off and disconnect the spark plug for small on-site maintenance.
- Turn off and disconnect the spark plug while moving or picking up the snowblower.
- DO NOT lift a machine from the bottom; again, the blades are sharp enough to cause serious injury.
- Wear non-slip, closed-toe shoes to prevent slipping under the machine.
- Operate the machine safely and with care