Friday, February 22, 2013

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!

Copyright © American Society for Surgery of the Hand 2009.

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