As the winter settles in, take a MEMIC minute to review some statistics related to snow blower use:
The US Consumer Products Safety Commission (USCPSC) reports that – each year – snow blower operators suffer more than 500 amputations and over 5000 emergency room visits. The vast majority of these injuries occur while trying to clear snow and ice jams from the collection auger or discharge chute.
The American Society for Surgery of the Hand (ASSH) finds that the average injured individual is a 44-year old male. The dominant hand is involved 90% of the time, resulting in amputation of finger tips, most commonly the middle one.
Additional weather related factors , reported by the ASSH, that increase the likelihood of a clogged snow blower include heavy, wet snow, accumulation greater than six inches, and a temperature of 28 degrees, or higher.
The bottom line is – if you operate a snow blower – sooner, or later, it’s going to get clogged; when this occurs take the following action:
- Power down the machine. Shut down gasoline models, and unplug electric.
- Never – ever -- use your hand to clear the intake augers or discharge chute. Use the handle provided with most new snow blowers, stick, ice scraper, or other tool to remove ice and packed snow.
These two, simple steps will prevent you from becoming a “snow blower statistic.”