Working outside in the winter can be hazardous in many ways. Slips, hypothermia, and icy roads are just a few of the hazards that go with colder weather. Landscapers are often exposed to all of these while clearing snow and ice. Believe it or not, the snowblower is actually one of the top hazards to workers. Dozens of snow and ice control contractors are sent to the emergency department each year with injuries to hands, fingers, and backs. Proper snowblower operation should be a top priority when training employees on proper cold-weather safety. Because winter is upon us, our article today is on using a snowblower safely.
Tips for Using a Snowblower Safely
- Wear proper footwear. Pushing a snowblower can be extremely hard without proper footwear. You should wear sturdy boots with non-slip treads on the bottom. Your best bet for nonslip treads are spikes or boot grippers. It is also a good idea to wear heavy socks to decrease the chance of frostbite.
- Don’t wear loose clothing while operating the snowblower. Loose clothing can easily get tangled in the moving parts of a snowblower. This may lead to slips, falls, and various bodily injuries.
- Stay focused and pay attention while using the snowblower. Paying attention while operating dangerous machinery is very important. Don’t use a snowblower when you are excessively tired or under the influence of alcohol. You can injure yourself or someone else if you are not paying 100% of your attention to that snowblower.
- Always start the snowblower outside. Like starting a vehicle, starting a snowblower inside can build up carbon monoxide fumes. Never start the snowblower in an enclosed space.
- Watch where the snow is blowing. Never point the chute of the snowblower towards people or traffic. Sometimes the snowblower may pick up rocks and other objects that can hurt someone or damage property when projected out of the snowblower’s chute.
- Wear ear protection. Most snowblowers are gas-powered which means they are extremely loud. This can eventually lead to hearing loss. Wearing ear protection can help prevent this but make sure you are still aware of your surroundings.
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