People in many parts of the country have had to dust off their old snow blower or head to the store to make a new purchase this winter. But as with any piece of machinery there are safety precautions to consider.
Although it should go without saying to never put a hand near the chute or any moving parts of the machine, it's always worth repeating since the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) estimates that some 5,740 people end up in the hospital with snow thrower-related injuries each year.
The commission says that most injuries occur when a user is attempting to clear snow or debris from the machine with their hands.
The CPSC recommends shutting off the engine and using a stick to unclog the machine.
It's also important to be aware of what might be under the snow that is being cleared. Running a snow blower over things like Christmas decorations or a dog chain can cause serious damage to a snow blower.
Even a garbage bag getting caught in an auger can be a costly mistake.