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Safe use of snowblowers


Photo: bvb1981/iStockphoto

You wake up to find Mother Nature has dumped a foot of snow on your driveway. Time to bring out the snowblower!

Before you do, let’s review some safety tips from the American Society for Surgery of the Hand:

  • Put on protective eyewear, such as safety glasses or goggles.
  • Wear slip-resistant boots.
  • Never pick up the machine to move it. Remember, the blades are sharp enough to hurt you.
  • Don’t allow children to operate a snowblower or be around you when you are.
  • Keep your hands and feet away from all moving parts of the snowblower.
  • Don’t remove machine safeguards.
  • Turn the snowblower off if it clogs and disengage the clutch. Wait five minutes for the blades to fully shut down. Then, use a stick or broom handle to clear the snow from the blower. Never put your hand down the chute or around the blades.

“If you suffer a snowblower injury, seek medical attention immediately, even for seemingly small injuries,” the ASSH says. “Even small cuts can be infected and may need antibiotics. Before you seek treatment, clean a cut well with soap and water and cover with a bandage. More severe injuries can lead to multiple finger amputations. Save any amputated body part in a sealed plastic bag wrapped in moist gauze or cloth and place that bag in another bag of ice. Go immediately to the closest emergency room.”

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