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Man Seriously Injured Using Snow Blower in Chatham; Northern New Jersey Digs Out from the Blizzard of 2016

Chatham Township

EMS transported a male victim to an area hospital late last night after the man suffered serious injuries while using a snow blower.

First responder rushed to the 100 block of Coleman Avenue shortly before 11:30 p.m. on reports of a person suffering a hand injury while using a snow blower.

Medical crews arrived to the scene to find a male victim (around the age of 53-year-old) bleeding from the hand with a partial amputation.

The man reportedly stuck his hand in the snow blower in an attempt to clean snow out of the impeller and had several fingers amputated and serious injuries to his hand.

The man's injuries were not reported to be life threatening.

Each year in Northern New Jersey, people suffer amputations and mutilating injuries of their hands from improperly using a snow blower. The biggest misconception is that the auger located at the intake end of the snow blower poses the greatest hazard

When in fact it is the impeller, a small piece of rapidly turning metal in the exit chute that causes most injuries. As snow clogs the outflow chute, the impeller whose job it is to send that snow high up into the air, suddenly stops.

The operator usually does not expect that there is a chance of injury from clearing a clogged outflow chute. As the finger loosens the snow, the impeller rapidly starts to spin again causing damage to anything that is in its way. Even with the machine turned off, by a seemingly knowing and experienced user there can be torque left in the system and the impeller can still spin rapidly once cleared causing injury.

Some machines seemingly have caused injury despite claims that "all safety precautions where followed." Forgetting though the most important one: not placing fingers in the harms way.

**Recommendations for safe use of a jammed snow blower include:**

If the snow blower jams, immediately turn it off.

Disengage the clutch.

Wait 10 seconds after shutting off to allow impeller blades to stop rotating.

Always use a stick or broom handle to clear impacted snow. The stick must be strong enough to avoid breakage or eye injuries can result from flying fragments.

Keep all shields in place. Do not remove any safety devices on machine.

Keep hands and feet away from moving parts.

Keep a clear head, concentrate and DO NOT drink alcoholic beverages before using a snow blower.