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There are plenty of safety hazards to be aware of when there is snow and ice on the ground. If it were up to us, when the weather gets bad we’d rather just relax in our easy chair with a cup of hot chocolate. Unfortunately, daily tasks will still need to be done, and that means clearing the snow. Most people know of the proper safety precautions to take when shoveling their property, but some are still not totally aware of the safety concerns when using a snow blower.
Clean Up Ahead of Time
Before the first flake falls, take the time to figure out where you will be using your snow blower, and clear those areas of unnecessary debris. Debris can clog the shoot, tie up the auger, or even become projectiles. Remove these possible safety hazards while you are doing fall clean-up around your house.
Everyone knows to dress warmly when they are out working in the snow, but there’s more than that to worry about. A pair of safety glasses will protect your eyes from debris or gusting snow. Wear clothing that fits tightly – loose fitting clothes can wave around and get caught in machinery, causing a safety hazard.
Watch Your Aim
Probably the most important thing to remember when blowing snow is that anything that gets pulled into the shoot can come out at high speeds. This can include rocks, toys, and lots of other debris found around the house. With this in mind, always aim the shoot away from cars, houses, people, and pets when blowing snow. If you have to adjust the chute as you work, that’s fine – that moment of stopping could save you from some nasty property damage.
Your snow blower clears away the snow, but not necessarily the ice. Even after you pass over a spot, there may be a thin sheet of ice left over. Make sure you step carefully, and if you feel unsafe, stop using the snow blower and clear the ice away.
With short days and the need to use your snow blower early in the morning or later at night, you need to make sure that you are easily seen by drivers for when you are clearing the driveway near the road, or a sidewalk. Use reflective safety tape on your snow blower as well as your own clothing so that they can see you, and avoid you.
At some point in time, your snow blower will likely become clogged. There are a lot of moving parts inside, and the last thing you want to do is stick your hand in there. If the chute clogs, you’ll need to turn off the snow blower and detach the spark plug cable – this ensures that the unit doesn’t start up accidentally. Then, use a clearing tool that comes with the snow blower or even a broomstick or garden shovel to safely clear the blockage.
So make sure to keep safety in mind when you are clearing snow. Go at your own pace, and don’t feel like you have to hurry. After all, the snow is not going anywhere.