Snow Blower Hand Injuries
During the winter, there are many dangers that could result in injuries, like ice, snow, and poor visibility. Additionally, the snow blower itself can pose a threat, especially to your hands. If you dont know the way to properly use the snow blower, you could be putting yourself at risk of serious injury.
This happens to hundreds or even thousands of people who visit the emergency room with maimed hands or completely amputated fingers. In fact, according to the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, around 6,000 people enter the emergency room after snow blower accidents every single winter season.
If you use a snow blower during the winter season, or you have a loved one who does, then you need to understand why the injuries happen and how they can be avoided.
To begin with, you need to know who is most at risk for snow blower accidents. This doesnt mean that everyone else is safe. After all, anyone could choose to use one of the machines. However, the most common patient who does sustain the injuries fits into the categories below:
- Generally a male around the age of 44
- Usually, the injury is sustained to the dominant hand
- The middle finger is the most common affected, but any can be injured
- The weather conditions usually include wet snow that is greater than six inches in accumulation
So, what is it that leads to these injuries? Lets look into the snow blower accidents themselves.
The vast majority of snow blower accidents and injuries occur during conditions in which the snow is heavy and wet. Thats because the snow is much more likely to become clogged in the machines chute. Because you may be in a hurry to get the snow blower operating again, you may be tempted to use your hands to unclog the chute. However, there are rotating blades in there and they can cause extreme injuries that require finger amputation, permanent hand damage, and the need for hand surgery.
There are simple things you can do in order to avoid the injuries. They include:
- Always leave safety devices on the snow blower. They are there for a reason, so do not take them off.
- Never ever use your hands to clear snow away from the chute. Do not do this even if the machine is turned off.
- On that note, make sure you turn off the machine and allow the blades to stop rotating before you do anything else.
- Instead of your hands, use a broom handle or other sturdy wooden stick to clear away the snow. Again, never use your hands.
When you are operating a snow blower, never drink before or during. Alcohol can muddle your brain and make you think that it is a good idea to use your hands to clear the snow. Additionally, if you are drinking, you could easily stumble, fall, and sustain other types of injuries while operating a snow blower.
When you are in the middle of clearing away the snow, do not leave the machine running unattended. Even if you are just stepping inside to grab something to drink, you should always turn the machine off.
Children should never be allowed to use a snow blower even under adult supervision. This machine is dangerous and is not made for minor use.
What to Do in Case of Injury?
If you suffer from a hand injury while operating a snow blower, this is not something that can be treated at home. Even if you dont think the injury is that bad, it could be a lot worse than you first realize. No matter what, you need to go to the emergency room or to a hand surgeon. If you dont, then the results could include permanent injury or loss of fingers. This is a chance you cannot afford to take.
Snow blower accidents happen every year, and they almost all occur because someone was not operating the machine properly. While it may seem to be the easier way to get back to work, clearing away snow in a chute is extremely dangerous and should never be used. Instead, you need to operate the machine properly, follow safety instructions, and maintain a clear head while you use it. This way, you can avoid those possibly permanent hand injuries.
Snow Blower Accidents
[Snow Blower Accidents]