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Doc Talk: Snowblower safety

Doc Talk: Snowblower safety.

When winter brings snow in Michigan, we get out the snowblowers, but before you fire up your machine doctors have a warning.

Newschannel 3's Erica Mokay explains in this edition of Doc Talk.

Michigan winters and snowblowers go hand in hand, until the mistake of putting your hand inside one of these machines

Dr. David Mayor, an Orthopedic Hand Surgeon at Borgess said, “So, typically for snowblower injuries it’s from this joint here.”

He said during the winter they see dozens of fingertip injuries with snowblowers being the main culprit, from clogs and a lapse in judgement.

Mayor said, “Even though its off, they'll go with their hand and they'll try to dislodge something and it will turn another half turn. There's still pressure in the cylinder. There's still tension in the system, the clutch is still engaged and that extra half turn is enough to take off part of a fingertip or injure a fingertip.”

Beyond the front part of the machine, depending on the type of machine, he says the chute can be dangerous too.

He said, “It may be six, seven, eight, 10 inches or more between where that shoot starts and where there's something dangerous, but you can't see, so, you’re sticking your hand blind in there and the last thing you want to do is find out that, ‘Oops, my hand is further than I thought’ and now you have another fingertip injury.”

Snow blower pro or not, when the white stuff starts falling, remember this:

  • If it's heavy snow, don't let it pile up.
  • Plow more often to avoid clogs.
  • If it does clog, make sure the machine is off.
  • If you can't wait for the snow that's stuck to melt, use a stick, pole, shovel, anything but your hands and feet.
  • Pay attention to what you're doing.

Mayor said, “Be careful with your fingers. No matter what you’re doing. You don't realize how much you use your hands until it's injured or you can't use it.”

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