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 Keep Fingers and Hands Safe: Practice Snowblower Safety

Each year, hundreds of people suffer maiming or amputations of their fingers or hands due to the improper handling of snowblowers. The American Society for Surgery of the Hand would like to provide you with patient information to help you avoid these injuries during the winter season.

Injury Profile
Average age: 44 years
Sex: Male
Dominant hand — 90% of injuries
Amputations of tips of fingers
Middle finger most commonly injured

Common Weather Conditions

  • Heavy, wet snow
  • Large snow accumulation, greater than six inches
  • Temperature: 28 degrees Fahrenheit or greater

Injury Causes

  • Snow clogging the exit chute of the machine
  • Not noticing that the impeller blades are still rotating even though the machine is off
  • Operator attempts to clean the clogged exit chute with hands
  • Hands connect with the rotating blades, resulting in severe injury

Snowblowers are safe if used properly.

Remember — if your snowblower jams:

  • Turn it OFF!
  • Disengage clutch.
  • Wait five seconds after shutting machine off to allow impeller blades to stop rotating.
  • ALWAYS use a stick or broom handle to clear impacted snow.
  • NEVER put your hand down chute or around blades.
  • Keep all shields in place. DO NOT REMOVE the safety devices on the machine.
  • Keep hands and feet away from all moving parts.
  • Keep a clear head, concentrate, and
  • DO NOT DRINK before using your snowblower!

REMEMBER — SAFETY FIRST AT ALL TIMES!

Copyright © American Society for Surgery of the Hand 2009.