Snow Blower Safety & Injury Prevention from the American Society for Surgery of the Hand:
This year is a common time to see injuries to the hands and fingers due to improper use of the snowblower. A common injury includes amputations to the tips of the fingers.
Injuries usually occur in periods of heavy, wet snow with several inches accumulated when snow becomes clogged into the exit chute of the machine. Unfortunately, many people put their hands into the chute to unclog the snow and the blades can still rotate when the machine is off, and these cut whatever is in their path.
Stay safe while snow blowing this season with these tips:
How to keep your snowblower from clogging:
-Work at a brisk pace. The faster the blades and pace, the less likely the snow will stick.
-If heavy, wet snow is anticipated, consider snow blowing several times during the snowfall.
-Some people spray the blades and chute with cooking oil spray. This may help.
If your snowblower clogs:
-Turn it OFF!
-Disengage the clutch.
-Wait five seconds after shutting the machine off to allow the impeller blades to stop rotating.
-ALWAYS use a stick or broom handle to clear the impacted snow.
-NEVER put your hand down the chute or around the blades.
-Keep all shields in place. DO NOT REMOVE the safety devices on the machine.
-Keep your hands and feet away from all moving parts.
-Stay focused while snow blowing.
-Wear boots with traction to avoid slipping.
-Do not drink alcohol or use narcotics before using your snowblower!