Snow blowers causing several hand injuries

HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH)– A lot of people around our state had their snow blowers working hard Wednesday, clearing away all that snow. But those machines can be dangerous as one man found out the hard way.

The machines are out in force chewing away at the snow. The wet, heavy, compact, ice crusted snow is clogging and plugging snow blowers all over the state.

When asked if he ever stuck his hand in a snow blower, one man said, “yes, last year I did it and got nine stitches. Ah it caught the tip, it almost chopped the tip off.”

That happened last year, right now there are more than a dozen people in area hospitals with finger injuries, two of them at Hartford Hospital.

“I’m trying to clean out the shoot you know, and the next minute you know my hand was sucked right into the shoot. And of course he stopped it right then and there was no way my hand was coming out of that thing,” said Ralph Sulima.

snow blower injury

Dr. Shangold says Ralph is lucky, he only broke four fingers, they weren’t cut off. But the other patient in the room next to him lost most of his hand. Gloves and clothes catch on the auger and suck hands and even arms into the machine.

“They had to literally cut the machine apart just to get my hand out of there,” said Sulima. “I’m just going to send a warning to people just shut the machine off when you go to clear the machine, don’t take any risks because this is what can happen.”

Doctors say even if you shut the machine off, there is still pressure on the auger blade. You should never reach in to clean it, some of the machines come with a stick that you can stick down the chute to clean it out and if you don’t have one of those, you can always use an ice scraper.

Just never stick you hand in the blades.

“A lot of these augers that are in the snow blowers they just really rip off the fingers and they can’t be reattached because of the damage,” said Dr. Greg Shangold, Hartford Hospital.

For a list of snow blower safety tips, click here.

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