There’s a certain “heartiness” associated with shoveling snow, but oh, isn’t it such a simple comfort to use a snow blower to move those inches – or sometimes feet, of snow, in half the time (and energy!) of shoveling? We’re no strangers to the winter elements here in Three Rivers, Michigan, but modern conveniences like snow blowers have made the winter months a lot easier on us. Yet, as snow blowers continue to gain popularity, the rise in snow blower related accidents has as well. Wearing safety glasses to prevent snow blower debris from flying in your eyes is just one of the ways to remove snow safely this winter.
#1: Cleaning a clog in the auger or discharge chute? Cut the engine first. It’s a surprise to us how many amputations occur as a result of not doing just this. Sure, the auger may have stopped turning as a result of that twig being stuck in it, but as soon as you remove it, you can bet it’s going to be up and whirring in a second – whether you had time to pull your fingers away or not. Sure, it’s frigid out, but take three seconds to turn that engine off.
#2: Start gasoline-powered snow blowers outside – not in an enclosed garage or shed. You wouldn’t sit in a running car in a closed garage, would you? Same goes for snow blowers – it might be tempting to turn it on and test it out in your warm garage, but you can just as easily become a victim of carbon-monoxide poisoning. Wait until you’re safely outside to give it a whirl.
#3: Wear safety glasses to prevent debris from flying in your eyes. Snow blowers are designed to remove snow, but that also means they’re going to be kicking up what’s underneath – small rocks, twigs, dirt, etc. These objects will literally be blowing into the air and potentially towards your eyes. Safety glasses keep debris out of your eyes so you can get the job done and be back in the warmth of your home or office in no time.
#4: Snow blowers are loud pieces of machinery, so protect your hearing, too. Snow blowers are prevalent in our garages and sheds, but that doesn’t mean they’re not harmful machinery. In addition to wearing safety glasses, protect your ears from their loud sound by wearing hearing protection earmuffs. You may only be using your snow blower a few days out of the year, but those days can wreak havoc on your hearing for a lifetime.
#5: Keep it tight. We’re not talking about your figure this winter – we mean the clothing you’re wearing while snow blowing. Don’t risk loose jackets, sleeves, and pants getting caught in your snow blower. Tuck pants into snow boots, and wear jackets that feature form-fitting sleeves to keep your protected. Just say no to scarves while snow blowing, unless they are completely tucked up within your jacket.
We average about 30-40 inches of snow every year here in Michigan, so you can believe snow blowers are a welcome invention to us! We’ll certainly be following our snow blower safety tips this winter, and we hope you do as well so we can all make it a safe winter this year.