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Snowblowers Can Remove Fingers, Too

Experts urge extra caution when clearing the chute

SUNDAY, Jan. 2, 2011 (HealthDay News) -- Snowblowers are a great tool for those who get lots of the white stuff, but while these machines may leave your driveway clear, they can also leave your fingers in a bandage -- or worse, experts warn.

A hand surgeon from Loyola University Health System in Chicago says that snowblower accidents can severely injure hands and even require finger amputations and extensive rehabilitation. "Every winter, we get three or four cases," Dr. Randy Bindra said in a university news release.

Nationwide, snowblowers are thought to result in hundreds of finger amputations each year. Some may be the result of using older snowblowers that lack a kill switch that turns the machine off if the operator tries to clear snow or debris from the chute.

To help keep your fingers safe from harm, safety experts offer the following tips:

  • Never put your hands into a snowblower's chute or around its blades.
  • If the machine gets clogged with snow, use a stick or broom handle to clear it, not your hands.
  • Make sure snowblower shields are in place and don't let your hands or feet get near any of the moving parts.

More information

North Dakota State University has details about snowblower safety.

SOURCE: Loyola University Health System, news release, Dec. 22, 2010
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