Snow removal has come a long way. For some, this is your year to ditch the shovel and use a snow blower for the first time. Others will enjoy another season of easy, hassle-free snow removal. Either way, don’t let your snow blower excitement distract you from staying safe this winter. Here are some great snow blower safety tips to keep in mind when the next snowstorm hits:
- Read the operator’s manual. This sounds pretty simple, but I think we’re all guilty of tossing the manual aside sometimes. Understanding how your snow blower works could prevent accidents later on. If you’ve misplaced your Briggs & Stratton owner’s manual, you can find your snow blower engine owner’s manual online.
- Clear the area of toys, sleds, snowmen and other items. This could clog the chute of your snow blower or cause other damage. Make sure you pay attention to where the “blown” snow is going – never blow snow towards people, pets or cars.
- Slow down. I know it’s cold out there, but walk, don’t run. The last thing you want is to face-plant onto the snowy concrete. Be sure of your footing and hold firmly onto the handles of your snow blower to prevent slips or stumbles.
How to Prevent Hand Injuries When Using Your Snow Blower
When using a snow blower the auger can get blocked by ice, snow or debris. This is an especially sensitive area of snow blower safety that requires extra caution.
On two-stage snow blowers the discharge chute contains a rotating impeller to throw snow and fingers can quickly become caught in the impeller.
Never clear or unclog the discharge chute with your hands – always use a clean-out tool. Hand contact with the rotating impeller inside the discharge chute is the most common cause of injury associated with snow blowers. Failure to observe these safety instructions will result in serious injury.
To safely clear a clogged discharge chute, follow these instructions:
- Shut OFF the engine.
- Wait 10 seconds to be sure the impeller blades have stopped rotating.
- Always use a clean-out tool, not your hands.
Stay safe, and happy snowblowing!