Snow Shoveling and Snow Blower Safety Tips

We at want to share some Snow Shoveling and Snow Blower Safety Tips:

With really big snow storms – and even everyday, run-of-the-mill snowfalls – comes a risk of death by shoveling. According to CBS News in Chicago, by early February 2015, around 18 people in the Chicago area had died in snow shoveling-related incidents. They ranged in age from their 40s to 75. Nationwide, snow shoveling is responsible for thousands of injuries and as many as 100 deaths each year.

So, why so many deaths? Shoveling snow is just another household chore, right?

Not at all, says Harvard Health Executive Editor Patrick J. Skerrett.

“Picking up a shovel and moving hundreds of pounds of snow, particularly after doing nothing physical for several months, can put a big strain on the heart,” Skerrett wrote in February 2013.

Pushing a heavy snow blower also can cause injury. And, there’s the cold factor. Cold weather can increase heart rate and blood pressure. It can make blood clot more easily and constrict arteries, which decreases blood supply. This is true even in healthy people. Individuals over the age of 40 or who are relatively inactive should be particularly careful.

National Safety Council recommends the following tips to shovel safely:

  • Do not shovel after eating or while smoking
  • Take it slow and stretch out before you begin
  • Shovel only fresh, powdery snow; it’s lighter
  • Push the snow rather than lifting it
  • If you do lift it, use a small shovel or only partially fill the shovel
  • Lift with your legs, not your back
  • Do not work to the point of exhaustion

Don’t pick up that shovel without a doctor’s permission if you have a history of heart disease. If you feel tightness in the chest or dizziness, stop immediately. A clear driveway is not worth your life.

Snow Blower Safety

Be safe with these tips from Toro:

This snow season, trade in that old shovel for the convenience and efficiency of a Toro® snow blower. Whichever Toro model you choose, be sure to operate it safely. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) estimates each year there are approximately 5,700 hospital emergency room-related injuries associated with snow blowers. The Toro Co. wants you and your family to be safe during the upcoming snow season and offers the following snow blower safety reminders:

● Read and understand your operator’s manual before operating the snow blower.
● For gasoline units, add fuel to the tank (outdoors) before starting the machine. Do not add gasoline to a running or hot engine, and never leave the machine running in an enclosed area.
● If you have an electric snow blower, use an outdoor power cord and an outlet with groundfault-circuit interruption protection. Know where your power cord is at all times, and be sure to replace worn or damaged cords.
● Inspect the area where the snow blower will be used, and remove any objects that might be picked up and thrown by the snow blower.
● Keep children and pets far away.
● Stay behind the handles. Keep your face, hands, feet and any other parts of your body or clothing away from moving / rotating parts on the machine. Before leaving the operating position, stop the engine and wait for all moving parts to stop.
● If the unit becomes clogged, turn off the engine on a gas machine or unplug the motor on an electric model. Wait for all moving parts to stop and then use a snow cleanout tool – never use hands or feet – to remove the clog. Never place your hands or feet near the auger/impeller or in the discharge chute.
● Do not touch the engine while it is running or soon after it has stopped because the engine may be hot enough to cause a burn.
● Before adjusting, cleaning, inspecting, troubleshooting, or repairing the machine, stop the engine, remove the key, and wait for all moving parts to stop. For gasoline units, disconnect the spark plug wire (if accessible) and keep it away from the spark plug to prevent someone from accidentally starting the engine.
● Perform only those maintenance instructions described in the operating manual. If major repairs are needed, contact your Toro authorized service dealer.
● Leave all safety features intact. If a shield, safety device, or decal is damaged, illegible, or lost, repair or replace it.

You can obtain additional information by logging onto NSC.

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