Avoid Snow Blower Injuries

Take steps to protect hands and avoid accidents.

Feb 2, 2015

Cortlandt Manor, NY

A person using a snow blower

Hudson Valley residents preparing to dig out from yet another storm this season should use caution with snow blowers to avoid serious injuries, say experts at NewYork-Presbyterian/Hudson Valley Hospital.

Ari Mayerfield, MD, said every year he sees patients who suffer from a variety of injuries sustained from snow blowers.

"Due to the improper handling of these machines, patients suffer from fingertip injuries, fractures, lacerations and amputated digits," said Mayerfield, a surgeon who specializes in injuries to the hand and upper extremity. Dr. Mayerfield works with hand therapists at the hospital’s Center for Rehabilitation to help those injured return to normal function.

Dr. Mayerfield said a majority of injuries with snow blowers are caused when people try to clear clogs in the exit chute without turning off the machine.

"When snow becomes clogged in the exit chute of the machine, it causes a jam. The operator will then inspect the blower, and this is when the majority of injuries occur. The operator's hand will come in contact with the rotating blades while using his/her hand to clear the snow," he said.

He suggested that snow blower users follow these tips:

  • Turn off the machine
  • Wait for a minute to give the blades time to stop rotating
  • Keep your hands clear of the exit chute and blades
  • NEVER use your hands to clear the snow - use a stick to clear the clogged chute
  • Keep snow blower safety shields in place
  • Never allow children to use the snow blower.

If you have a hand or wrist issue either routine or emergency, you can contact Dr. Mayerfield at 914-293-8700. If you need hand therapy call the Hand Center at 914-734-3251.