Snow blowers are big machines, particularly two-stage and three-stage models, and you should be careful when using them. If you’re thinking of buying a snow blower this winter season or already own one, make sure you keep yourself safe by following these tips.
Know your machine
Start by making sure you get familiar with your snow blower. Read the operation manual specific to your model right away and get to know all of the different features and controls. Pay particularly close attention to features specifically intended for safe operation and maintenance. Some snow blowers such as those from Cub Cadet have a master key that is required to turn the engine on and off. With this safety feature, you can ensure that your machine won’t turn on when checking if anything is wrong.
Prepare before clearing
There are a few things you need to plan before clearing. Before a snowfall, be sure to inspect the area you intend to clear and remove anything that may obstruct your machine. Also, plan your pattern ahead of time to avoid throwing snow towards roads, your home, or any bystanders. If you are clearing snow on gravel or stamped concrete surfaces, adjust the collector height to avoid throwing rocks or damaging the surface. Lastly, don’t forget letting your machine adjust to the cold outdoor temperatures and disengage all control levers before starting.
Wear protective gear
Protective gear is paramount when using a snow blower to ensure that you’re safe at all times. Always wear protective eyewear while operating the snow blower and be aware that loose clothing can easily become entangled in the snow blower’s moving parts. Articles such as jewelry, scarves and loose clothing should never be worn while operating the snow blower. Don’t forget to also dress warmly so you don’t feel rushed to get in out of the cold.
Always exercise caution when using a snow blower, as they can pose risks when not properly handled. When clearing, ensure that there is a safety area around your snow blower and keep bystanders, pets and young children at least 75 feet away at all times. Also, never allow children under 14 years of age to operate the snow blower and review all snow blower safety tips with children over this age before operation.
In the event of a clogged chute, turn the engine off and wait until all moving parts have stopped before unclogging it with the clean-out-tool at the back of the auger housing. Clearing clogs is the most common cause of injury when using snow blowers, so never use your hands to clear a clogged chute. Also, remember to pay special attention to your footing when clearing in reverse or in times of low visibility to avoid slipping or falling.
These safety tips will help ensure that your snow blower operation is safe, smooth and hassle-free. Make sure you follow each of them to keep yourself safe and your snow blower working efficiently.