Every year the board certified orthopedic surgeons at the Indiana Hand to Shoulder Center see patients with injuries due to careless use of snowblowers, frostbite and falls on ice. If you’re spending time outdoors in the cold winter weather, please remember these tips to help prevent an unnecessary trip to the doctor’s office or emergency room due to injury.
Use your snowblower safely
Snowblowers are a great way to quickly clear snow from your driveway and sidewalks, but they can also cause serious injury if used improperly. Avoid dangerous situations and unnecessary accidents while using your snowblower.
• Snow can clog a snowblower, causing it to temporarily malfunction.
• Propeller blades can still be in motion, even when the machine is turned off.
• Making contact with moving blades or parts can result in severe injury.
• Never remove and safety devices on the snowblower.
• Fill snowblowers with gas outdoors – not in an enclosed area. If using electric snowblower, be careful not to trip on or run over the cord.
Beware of Icy Sidewalks and Parking Lots
When you’re taking a crisp winter stroll in your neighborhood or walking through the parking lot at work, use caution after snow has fallen. Sidewalks and pavement can be slippery resulting in falls that cause serious injuries to the shoulder, elbow, wrist and hands. Follow these tips.
• Wear sensible boots with thick, non-tread soles and low heels. Keep these in your car in case you become stranded or encounter car trouble.
• Thoroughly salt or sand your driveway, walkways and sidewalks.
•Wait until snow/ice has melted before walking on salted surfaces.
• Look before you walk. Surfaces can re-freeze during nighttime hours, making sidewalks and parking lots slippery in the morning.
• Walk slowly and carefully, taking small steps.