Preventing Snow Blower Injuries

January 23, 2015

By: Robert J. Heaps, MD

As we experience winter storm after winter storm here in New England, we turn our attention to preventing snow blower injuries. Every winter people lose fingers and suffer serious hand injuries while trying to maintain their snow blowers. According to US Consumer Product Safety Commission data, more than 6,000 people a year seek treatment at emergency departments after being injured using snow blowers.

The physicians at New Hampshire Orthopaedic Center want to help prevent these serious and avoidable injuries. Follow the tips below to safely clear your driveway and sidewalks.

What Weather Conditions Increase Risk of Injury?

  • Heavy, wet snow
  • Snow accumulation of more than six inches
  • Temperature of 28 degrees or more

What to Do if Your Snow blower Jams

1. Turn your snow blower OFF!
2. Disengage the clutch.
3. Wait five seconds after shutting machine off to allow impeller blades to stop rotating.
4. ALWAYS use a stick or broom handle to clear impacted snow.
5. NEVER put your hand down chute or around blades.
6. Keep all shields in place. DO NOT REMOVE the safety devices on the machine.
7. Keep hands and feet away from all moving parts.


  • Keep a clear head and concentrate on what you are doing.
  • DO NOT DRINK before using your snow blower!


Once you have safely cleared all of that snow, we hope you get out and enjoy it!