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‘Tis the season for snowblowing, and it’s no joke that hundreds of emergency room visits each winter are caused by unsafe snowblowing practices, so before you fire yours up, remember these safety tips.
How to Deal with Jams
Even though some manufacturers have redesigned their chutes to avoid clogs in heavy snow, anyone who’s ever used a snowblower can tell you that chute or auger jams are inevitable, no matter how powerful your machine. Never, ever clear a jam by hand. Always turn the engine off first, disengage the clutch and use a broom handle or other long object to clear the obstruction. While some manufacturers are getting away from using shear pins, if your machine has them, they will break in a heavy jam to avoid damaging the internal gears. These are a pain to replace, but you can’t run your machine without them, so have extras on hand.
How to Work with Electric Snowblowers
If your snowblower is electric, make sure the extension cord you’re using is UL-rated for exterior use and is long enough for the area you need to cover but not longer than 150 feet from the power source. And be extra careful not to run over the cord while you’re at work!