Every year thousands of people suffer damage to their hands and fingers due to improper handling of snow blowers. These injuries are highly preventable and are not necessarily a result of carelessness of the operator, but rather a moment of inattention. Often people don’t realize that even if the machine has been turned off, the blades will still move when the exit chute is cleared of an icy clog. The best case scenario with snow blower injuries is loss of skin off the tips of the fingers. Unfortunately, more often, the injury is more devastating and can damage bone, tendon, nerves and joints and can even result in amputation.
Injuries usually occur when the snow is wet, heavy and has accumulated more than 6 inches. The snow clogs the exit chute and the operator tries to unclog it with their hands. The blades can still rotate when the machine is off and can cause injuries to fingers and hands. To prevent clogging, work at a brisk pace. The faster the blades and pace, the less likely the snow will stick in thmachine. If the snow is wet and heavy, consider snow blowing several times during the snowfall.
If the snow blower jams, here’s what you should do to maximize your safety:
- Turn the snow blower OFF
- Disengage the clutch
- Wait 10 seconds after shutting off the machine for the blades to stop rotating
- Use a stick or broom handle to clear impacted snow
- NEVER put hands down the chute or around the blades
- Keep all shields in place, DO NOT remove safety devices on the machine
- Keep a clear head and concentrate on the task at hand
- DO NOT operate the machine under the influence of alcohol or medication
Follow these tips, and here’s to fun and safe winter ahead!
Contact Elite Sports Performance & Physical Therapy today!
If you or someone you care about has suffered a hand or finger injury or other musculoskeletal issues affecting your hands, or require post-operative rehab following a recent hand, wrist, or elbow surgery, Elite Sports Performance & Physical Therapy in Stoughton and Foxboro can help. We offer individualized, evidence-based specialty treatment for a variety of elbow, hand and wrist issues. Contact us at 781-436-0391 or email us at PTinfo@elitefitcenter.com to schedule your initial appointment with our Certified Hand Therapist, Jessica Cesario.