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Snowblower Dangers: Drs. Gil, Got share vital safety precautions with Channel 10’s Barbara Morse

Snow blowers have become an essential piece of equipment for many homeowners. But after most major storms, there is the fallout.

“We’ll often see a lot of people in the emergency room the day or the following day,” Dr. Christopher Got, a hand surgeon at University Orthopedics, told Channel 10’s Barbara Morse. “The worst ones are the ones where we see segmental injuries – when people get their hand caught, they not only get one laceration or possible amputation or partial amputation, it occurs in several areas.” 

That’s because snowblowers have multiple blades, which compounds the injury.

“The first blade sucks the snow into the snow blower and then there’s a second smaller blade that actually spits the snow out of the chute,” Dr. Joseph Gil said.

ICYMI: Drs. Gil and Got Discuss Snowblower Safety on Ch. 10 »

If your snowblower clogs:

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

To keep your snowblower from clogging in the first place, you should:

  • Work at a brisk pace. The faster the blades and pace, the less likely the snow will stick.
  • If heavy, wet snow is anticipated, instead of waiting for the snow to stop, consider snow blowing several times during the snowfall.
  • Spray blades with cooking spray. This could help keep the snow from sticking to the blades.

If you suffer a snowblower injury, seek medical attention immediately. Even if you think it’s just a cut, there is a risk of infection.