To avoid harming yourself or others, practice safe habits when using your snowblower.
Despite their handiness, snowblowers can be dangerous if used carelessly, causing more than 6,000 injuries every year. Reduce the risk by following basic safety advice:
Keep your hands away. Never stick your hand in the spinning auger or discharge chute, even if the engine is off. If the machine clogs, turn it off, wait at least five seconds or until the auger completely stops, then use a clearing tool or broom handle to remove the clog.
Wear appropriate gear. Light layers of water-repellent clothing 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 to avoid falling on the ice, be sure to wear nonslip footwear.
Remove debris. Before beginning snow removal, 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. Remove them before starting your machine.
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, note 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.