Click to Return
Back Back

Search WDH

Find a Provider


Robert R. Cawley, D.O.

Dover, NH 03802

Education & Training

Board Certification

See Profile

Search WDH


Snow Blower Safety Tips: Courtesy of WDH Occupational Therapy

By Michelle Lavertu, OTR/, Occupational Therapist, Wentworth-Douglass Hospital Rehabilitation Services

Winter is not over despite our best hopes. Before thinking spring, take a few minutes to familiarize yourself with some snow blower safety tips.

Each year, hundreds of people suffer hand and finger injuries, including amputations, as the result of improper handling of snow blowers. These injuries involve the users dominant hand 90% of the time. Wentworth-Douglass Hospital Occupational Therapy and The American Society for Surgery of the Hand (ASSH) would like to provide you with important information to help you avoid these injuries during the winter season.

Injuries Occur most Often in These Weather Conditions

  • Heavy, wet snow
  • Large snow accumulation, greater than six inches
  • Temperature: 28 degrees Fahrenheit or greater

Causes of Injury

  • Snow clogging the exit chute of the machine
  • Not noticing that the impeller blades are still rotating even though the machine is off
  • Operator attempts to clean the clogged exit chute with hands
  • Hands connect with the rotating blades, resulting in severe injury

Remember, if your snow blower jams:

  • Turn it OFF!
  • Disengage clutch.
  • Wait five seconds after shutting machine off to allow impeller blades to stop rotating.
  • ALWAYS use a stick or broom handle to clear impacted snow. 
  • NEVER put your hand down the chute or around blades. Keep hands and feet away from all moving parts.
  • Keep all shields in place. DO NOT REMOVE the safety devices on the machine.
  • Keep a clear head and concentrate. And 
  • DO NOT DRINK before using your snow blower.

Learn more about the rehabilitation services  offered by our Occupational Therapists ranging from hand therapy to shoulder, arm, elbow, forearm, and wrist therapy! Contact Wentworth-Douglass Rehabilitation Services at (603) 740-2101 or visit

Copyright American Society for Surgery of the Hand 2009




Tagged In: