Depending on where you live, snow has or will be on its way and that means both landscapers and homeowners will be depending on snow blowers to clear walkways and driveways. The Outdoor Power Equipment Institute (OPEI) has some tips on using snow blowers safely this season.
“Your indispensable winter friend, the snow blower, is ready to be powered up and it’s important to keep safety in mind,” said Kris Kiser, OPEI president and CEO. “Be sure to prepare and consider the following tips before you use your equipment.”
Prepare before it snows
- Review your owner’s manual and check your equipment.
Be sure that your machine is off while you are giving it a good once over. Check the auger and ensure that any old gas from last season has been drained. Look over the safety procedures in the manual and know how to quickly shut off your equipment.
- Prepare your fuel and handle it properly.
In the event of a snowstorm, make sure you have fuel on hand for your snow blower. Ensure that it is the type of fuel that your equipment manufacturer recommends. Fill your tank outside while it is still cold. Never add fuel to a running or hot engine.
- Be sure to clean the area you intend to clear with your equipment.
Items can be hidden under the cover of snow so always check the area you are about to clear first. Doormats, hoses, toys, wire and other debris can harm either the machine or people if run over by the snow blower.
- Dress appropriately.
Wear safety glasses and footwear that can handle slippery surfaces.
Operate your equipment safely
- Never put your hand inside the auger or chute.
Practice common sense and make sure the blower is off before addressing any clogs. Use a clean out tool or a stick to remove snow or debris from the snow blower. Never put your hands inside the chute.
- Only use your snow blower in visible conditions.
Never operate a snow blower when there is poor visibility. Never operate without good lighting.
- Aim your snow blower with care.
Keep children and pets away from the snow blower while it is operating. Never throw snow toward a car or people. Always make sure no one is standing in front of the snow blower.
- Use extreme caution on slopes and hills.
Do not attempt to clear steep slopes. Be cautious when changing direction on hills.
- Know where you cord is.
When using an electric snow blower, be careful not to run over the power cord. Always be aware of its location to avoid tripping.
For more safety tips on using snow blowers, click here.