Practice safe habits when using your snowblower to avoid harming yourself or others.
Despite their handiness, snowblowers can be dangerous if used carelessly. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), snowblowers cause more than 5,700 injuries every year.
Reduce the risk of injury when using a snowblower by following basic safety rules:
Keep your hands away. Never stick your hand in the spinning auger or discharge chute, even if it’s off. If the machine clogs, turn it off, wait at least five seconds, and then use a clearing tool or broom handle to remove the clog.
Wear appropriate gear. Use light layers of water-repellent clothing that allow your body to stay dry and warm, yet breathe once you work up a sweat. Avoid loose clothing that could get caught in the machine. And be sure to wear nonslip footwear to avoid falling on the ice.
Remove debris. Before beginning snow removal, take a look around. If any objects, such as toys, lawn decorations or sticks, appear in your path, the snowblower could launch them, perhaps injuring you or damaging property.
Fuel it and start it up. To avoid a fire, make sure the engine is off and cool. Always start a gas-powered snowblower outside a structure such as a garage or shed. Harmful emissions could lead to carbon monoxide poisoning.
Watch out for cords. If you have an electric snowblower, realize where the cord is and keep it away from the auger. To prevent electrocution use an extension cord and an outlet with ground-fault-circuit-interrupting (GFCI) protection.
Leave safety gear alone. Safety devices and shields are installed on the machine for your protection. Avoid removing them or altering the snowblower in any way.
Read the manual. Take time to look over the owner’s manual for operating instructions and additional safety precautions—and follow the manufacturer’s advice.