SEB Safety Tip: Clogged snowblowers should be cleaned with a stick, not your hand.

Pic of snowblower warning.


Unlike the previous SEB safety tip, this is one that some folks might need to be told about.

If you have a snowblower and it gets clogged on heavy snow, which they are wont to do, you should never stick your hand into the chute to clear the clog. That’s a lesson this poor kid learned the hard way:

At 14, Kenny McGill was a veteran snowblower user, taking on the task of cleaning off the driveway and sidewalk of his family’s Plainfield home for the last three years.

So his mother, Sheila McGill, was shocked when she got a call Dec. 10 saying the teen had mangled his hand while doing the job.

Kenny lost half of his index finger, and surgeons had to reconstruct the middle finger of his right hand. He told his parents he used his hand to clear clogged snow out of a collector chute, and an unseen blade caught it, his mother said.

The teen faces physical therapy and a long healing process.

via Snowblowers offer winter help, but blades pose hazard – Chicago Breaking News.

Most of the bigger snowblowers will come with a tool specifically for this purpose, but if yours didn’t then improvise with something other than your hand and turn the damned thing off before trying to unclog it.

Sure that means you have to start it back up again, but at least you’ll have all your fingers to yank on the starter cord with.

5 thoughts on “SEB Safety Tip: Clogged snowblowers should be cleaned with a stick, not your hand.

  1. It’s the suburban equivalent of “disconnect the PTO before clearing the hay baler”. I met a fellow in Indiana once who ignored that rule. The baler ripped his forearm off at the elbow. Not reattached.

    “Bart, you have small hands; would you get that?”

  2. I remember that from Chicago. Without fail, as soon as it starts to snow the ERs have to deal with people getting a heart attack from clearing snow (doesn’t make a difference if it’s by hand or with a snowblower) or getting their hands chopped up from reaching into snowblowers. It’s sad.

  3. Makes me think of what my cousin said on Christmas Eve. He works for a construction company, and noted that some of his coworkers had trouble understanding basic safety concepts, like one fellow who worked on a lawnmower while it was still running. Can’t remember if he lost a digit or not.

  4. For that matter his sister could tell a few stories. She worked for Saskatchewan Occupational Health and Safety until she was fired in a dispute over some of her findings regarding prison worker safety.

  5. Reminds me of a friend who cut off his big toe at 14 while he was cutting the grass, he was pulling the mower up a small hill and didn’t move his foot fast enough out of the way. Fun..
    Thank goodness we have no need for snow blowers in TN, there would be a lot of hands removed. Just like we have lots of fires around Thanksgiving because people don’t know how to fry their turkeys properly. People down here seem to be stupid prone.

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