It’s that time of year when snow becomes a fact of life. Clearing your driveway or sidewalks with a shovel may take more time and effort, but it may be safer than using a snowblower.
This time of year, emergency departments see an uptick in hand injuries due to snowblowers. Many times, the injuries are so extensive that they cannot be repaired, leading to amputation. Sometimes, the injury is an amputation that cannot be reattached. For this reason, Fox News reports that Massachusetts officials are urging people not to stick their hands in snowblowers.
A snowstorm brought more than two feet of snow to parts of upstate New York, western Massachusetts, and Vermont on Tuesday.
The snowstorm led to a rash of snowblower-related hand injuries in Massachusetts over a two-day period.
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Firefighters in Lawrence, Massachusetts had to help free the hand of a man that got stuck inside a snowblower. Lawrence Fire Chief Brian Moriarty shared images of the firefighters shoveling the man’s driveway after he was taken to the hospital. The firefighters also put the man’s snowblower back together after disassembling it to free his hand.
Statewide, at least 12 people went to area hospitals after sticking their hands into snowblowers. Lahey Hospital and Medical Center in Burlington saw at least six snowblower-related injuries.
The most common injuries were lacerations to the fingers. There were some finger amputations that could not be reattached due to the digits getting lost in the snow.
Most people injured think that they are safe once the snowblower is turned off. However, clearing the clog can cause the blades to engage using stored energy, resulting in the blades restarting for just long enough to cause the injuries.