Snow blowers are great tools for removing snow; but just like any other tool, they should not be treated as toys. There are some safety precautions you should keep in mind when operating a snow blower.
Not following those safety precautions can cause serious injury to you or others around you, and may damage the machine as well. Focus on these safety tips, and you'll be more comfortable and confident in your ability to safely use your snow blower.
No, we're not referring to a leotard. However, you shouldn't wear loose-fitting clothing while operating a snow blower. Baggy pant legs, dangling scarves, and other loose articles of clothing have the potential to get caught on a moving part.
Once this happens, the article of clothing may be pulled into the machine, potentially pulling you in with it. In addition, wear slip-resistant boots or shoes to reduce the risk of slipping and falling.
If you notice a snow storm beginning, you may want to be proactive by picking up anything that's on the ground that could jam the snow blower or be launched by the impeller. Take a quick walk around the area that you'll be clearing.
Pick up toys, shovels, doormats, newspapers, decorations, rocks, extension cords, or anything else you don't want to run over with your snow blower. If you wait too long, those things will be covered in snow. Pick them up while you can still see them, or you may end up with an extension cord tangled in your auger.
It's always a good idea to wear hearing protection when operating loud machinery. Gas models can be quite loud, sometimes exceeding 85 decibels, and can cause hearing damage. We recommend using over-the-ear hearing protection, both for optimum safety and to keep your ears warm. However, you can use ear plugs and ear muffs in a pinch.
Like we mentioned above - snow blowers are tools, not toys. Keep young children away from your snow blower, and don't allow them to operate it - especially without supervision. While you're operating it, keep children and pets far away from the snow blower. Small objects like rocks could get launched at high speeds.
Gas-powered snow blowers should never be started or ran inside a garage or shed, even with the door open. The exhaust fumes contain carbon monoxide. Running any gas engine indoors or anywhere fumes can be trapped is extremely dangerous. The build-up of carbon monoxide fumes can be deadly. Always run your gas-powered snow blower outside, away from any windows or doors.
When using electric snow blowers, be sure to use an extension cord that's properly rated for your model of a snowblower. Be sure you have it plugged into a GFCI protected outlet with three prongs. And when you begin operating the snow thrower, be careful to keep the cord away from the front-end where it could get pulled into the auger. Always keep the cord behind you.
Never, ever, stick your hands near the auger or chute while it's running. This may seem like common sense, but there's a reason it must be mentioned. When your auger or chute become clogged with too much snow, or with unexpected debris, fully shut the engine off (unplug electric models), then use your clearing tool (often included with snow blowers) to break up the clog. Once the clog is cleared, you can plug in or start up your snow blower and resume operation.
Whether you forget to top the gas off in your snow blower before you begin, or you've got a big job to do that requires more than one tank-full, you're probably going to run out of gas at some point while clearing snow. In the event that this happens, be sure you wait until the engine has fully cooled down before you open the tank and begin refueling.
We understand you're excited about your new snow blower, and why shouldn't you be? However, don't overdo it. In cold winter temperatures, pushing yourself to the limit is a bad idea. People with heart problems, diabetes, or high blood pressure should consult their doctor before taking on any winter chore.
While snow blowers do help you get the job done with less risk than shoveling, you should still take breaks as needed to re-hydrate and manage your heart rate.