When the North winds blow, it’s time to think about getting your snow blower out of the garage. Before you actually use it, though, you need to think about how a snow blower should be properly used. According to the Consumer Products Safety Commission,(CPSC), snowblowers are the “fourth leading cause of finger amputations.” Not to mention the fact that improper usage of snow blowers has lead to nine reported deaths since 1992.
Snow throwers are an effective alternative to using an old-fashioned shovel to clear snowy sidewalks and driveways. But if they’re not used properly, you can
pay the cost for not operating it safely.
As with any other mechanical device that has moving parts, before you operate a snow blower, you should read the owner’s manual clear through. If you don’t read the instructions first, then you’re putting yourself, as well as your family, at a risk for danger. Make sure that you understand everything, especially the safety features and user precautions that are listed in the manual. If you have any questions, there are always customer service phone numbers listed that you can call.
Probably the most important basic thing to remember, is, if your snow blower is gasoline-powered, be sure that you start it in a well-ventilated area. If you start it in a closed up garage or shed, you’ll risk getting Carbon Monoxide Poisoning. Make sure all of the hand guards and safety mechanisms are in place, and are working properly, before you start it. Also, make sure all of the nuts, screws, bolts, and fasteners on the snow blower are in place and are secured tightly. Check the air in the tires to make sure they are properly inflated.
Before you start your snow blower, protect your eyes by wearing a good pair of safety glasses or goggles. Then, check the areas you’re going to clear. Remove children’s toys, tree branches, rocks, and other debris.
Finally, start the machine either by plugging it into an electrical outlet or by cranking up the gasoline engine. Hold the handles firmly and keep control of the blower at all times. If you’re a novice at using this type of equipment, then start out on a level surface. This will allow you to get the feel of it before you move on to trickier banks and unleveled areas. Blow the snow away from your house, vehicles, and people and pets.
All you need to do is walk behind the snow thrower and allow it to pull itself along. Don’t try to push it or hurry it. It works best at it’s own speed. For maximum safety, keep your hands, feet, and other body parts away from the auger, discharge chute, chains, gears, and the other moving parts of the machine. If a tree branch or other object gets stuck in the auger, shut the blower off first before attempting to remove it. Make sure the auger has completely stopped. Even then, never attempt to remove a clog with your fingers; use a long stick instead.
When you’re clearing off banks and other unleveled areas, maintain a firm foothold and keep control of the snow blower at all times.
And finally, if your snow blower is gas-powered, allow the engine to cool completely before you add more fuel.
Again, using a snow blower is faster and easier than using an old-fashioned shovel. If you follow the instructions and practice safety, your experiences with the machine can be industrious, as well as rewarding.