Use Snow Removal Equipment Wisely

The Consumer Product Safety Commission says that each winter there are about 6,000 serious injuries associ­ated with snow blowers, including hundreds of finger amputations. This winter, a Postal Service™ employee was seriously injured while using a snow blower.

Most injuries happen when people try to clear snow from the discharge chute with their hands. If you’re using a snow blower this winter, follow these safety tips:

Check equipment, such as snow blowers, before use to make sure it is functioning properly and that safety guards are in place.

Do not test gasoline-powered equipment indoors because of the danger of carbon monoxide poisoning.

Do a thorough walk-around inspection of plows and other mobile equipment to check for damage or safety issues, and to be sure there are no obstructions in the machinery’s path.

Keep people away from the area where you start or operate the machine. Shift into neutral and make sure all clutches are disengaged before starting the engine.

When using snow blowers or walk-behind snowplows, move carefully so you do not slip, and keep a firm hold on the machine. To prevent entanglement or being struck by objects propelled by the blades, stay away from the dis­charge opening and make sure others stand clear.

Never put your hand in any part of the equipment while the machine is running. First turn off the engine, wait for all moving parts to stop, then unplug the spark plug. Use a tool, never your fingers or hands, to remove any snow or ice buildup.