Snowblower dangers

You know how I mentioned the other day that a snowblower was a romantic gift? Don’t look if you’re squeamish, but here’s an x-ray of a snow-blower related injury. Actually, the x-ray isn’t so bad, but the picture below it, in which the fingertip was yanked off, pulling the whole tendon with it like pulling the laces out of a boot, might really ruin the romance for you.



  1. George says

    It is one thing to have your finger tip wacked off, but to have the tendon ripped out of your forearm, yikes. A clean cut would be nicer.

  2. Bride of Shrek says

    I’m typing this in 34 degree heat watching the palm trees outside my window swaying in the sea breeze. Not much chance of a snowblower accident around here. Coconut might drop on your head if you’re not careful though…or you might choke on a lime pip whilst sipping your dusk G & T. Bugger living in your Hoth ice world, you people need to move.

    As an added incentive to your imminent emmigration to Australia I’d like to also point out we have KILLER OCTOPUSSES!!!!

  3. valiantmauz says

    I am not going to click that link. One wonders, however, about the location of the injury. Fingers and snowblowers are two things that do not belong together. Did the victim not watch Sesame Street in his formative years?

    I love my snowblower. But like anything else with spinning blades and a gas engine, I am not sticking my fingers or any other body part near the business end.

  4. Jeremy Bradley says

    Wow, losing the tendon is like adding insult to injury. Not only did he lose the tips of his fingers (not a particularly terrible injury relatively), but now won’t be able to move the rest of the finger and likely will have some serious mobility issues with the rest of his hand.

  5. RamblinDude says

    Cool reminder that we’re all meat machines.

    I’m going to make every effort not to do that.

  6. bPer says

    Prof. Myers, now that you’ve been sufficiently grossed out, I trust that you will not be as foolish, and will have many years of safe use of your Christmas present.

    Last week, I taught the lady next door how to use my snowblower, but I didn’t cover the safety issues. I will now make sure she gets a thorough safety briefing before she gets to use it again. I’d be devastated if she hurt herself because I assumed she’d use it safely.

  7. Will Von Wizzlepig says

    it sucks when someone gets hurt, but that guy gets the royal dumbass award of the day. heavy machinery? hands inside? duh?

  8. Bride of Shrek says

    For those of you with nothing better to do than read the statistics on snowblower accidents.

    if you’re a bloke around the age of 44 you’re a prime candidate for finger loss apparently. Inexplicably there’s even an ankle injury but no details are included as to what possesses someone to introduce their foot to a snowblower.

  9. freelunch says

    My stepfather was one of those who decided to sacrifice fingertips to the god of clogged snowblowers. You would think a registered nurse would know better.

  10. Chris says

    I’ve used snowblowers all my life, and rule #1 that was drilled into my head was always, “Don’t stick your hand down the chute”. Rule #2 was, “Turn the damned thing off if it jams!” Following these two simple rules will ensure many years of romance-inducing snow clearing!

    Speaking of which, looks like an early start for me tomorrow. White stuff just a-comin’ down!

  11. Onkel Bob says

    I didn’t click on the link because it would bring back bad memories of a guy working on an aircraft. I was in the USAF and they made us take off all jewelry when working. (Or risk a Letter of Reprimand) This guy ignored the law and was swung out of the flight station exit of a C-141 (which was also discouraged). Never did you hear such a blood curdling scream – the ring got caught, his finger came off, and a bloody tendon was swinging from the door. Ayup, removed his tendon all the way to the elbow

  12. booger says

    Just imagine how awful he would have felt to have a priceless diamond ring from his honey on that finger when they went their seperate ways.

    Just sayin is all.

  13. says

    Bleah. I never, ever understood why anyone would even in a moment of madness put their hands into the business end of any machine like that without turning it off first. I don’t even turn my vacuum cleaner head over until it’s turned off, fer cryin’ out loud.

  14. James says

    I’m curious about the prospects of reattachment for that guy. No doubt they’re not good. Looks like he’d need a giant incision along the length of his arm where the tendon would be inserted, but I don’t know if that bit of muscle at the end could bind with the muscle that got left behind in his forearm. Probably wouldn’t work, but I’m not even close to being a doctor.

    Any surgeons wanna comment on that?

  15. Anon says

    I taught at an Air Force Base that had safety posters up on the wall (for reasons #16 explained), showing the results of various different confrontations between power tools and rings. Lots of fingers stripped to the bone, basically. Looks like the lucky ones are the people who had simple amputations.

    So there is no way in hell I am gonna click your link.

  16. Crudely Wrott says

    Inasmuch as I once did it, that is I was within an inch and a eye blink or dismemberment and or death, I have thought long and hard about this question:

    Why do normally functional people so frequently stick parts of themselves into rotating machinery?

    I have decided that there are two answers. The first is that some ‘consumers’ may honestly assume that no body would sell them anything that could hurt them. The rapid cut shots on the commercial showed nothing but ease and happiness, after all. The second, and more frequently applicable, is that there are too many people in too big of a hurry to arrive at the next crisis.

    In my case, it was simply not paying attention, not having ‘situational awareness.’ You see, I was lubricating a three-quarter-inch pitch chain driving a thirty-inch sprocket that was part of system for spooling long lengths of cable on oil field equipment. The power source of the hydraulic system was a 200 HP electric motor. I damn near stuck my elbow between the sprocket and the chain at the point where the chain goes onto the sprocket. I was quite subdued and thoughtful through the next few days. Still get the willies when I recall (like now).

    And there is the third of the two reasons I found; not paying attention!

    OT but I can’t resist. There is a new biofuel boat that is set to challenge the record for circumnavigation of the planet. It is, I believe, funded by a plastic surgeon and his wife. From what I can learn from the news blurbs, the boat’s fuel is made up in part of human fat from liposuction procedures. Apparently, the good doctor’s good wife has contributed a hundred milliliters of gas, ah, fuel.

    Am I the only one to grok?

    “Bio Fuel!! Don’t burn it!! It’s Peoplle!!!!”

  17. says

    At the risk of being a bastard, I have to admit I have limited sympathy for people who lose body parts to snowblowers (and household machinery in general). My last snowblower even had a sticker on the chute with a graphic showing a hand getting amputated by the rotor — how much more warning do you need? I clogged mine plenty often with wet snow, all it takes to avoid unpleasantness is a) turning the damn machine OFF and pulling the ignition key and b) only ever poking inside with a broom handle to clear the blockage. (Anyways, starting last winter we hired a service and sold the damn machine).

  18. Ian Govey says

    This just proves what I’ve always held to be true – humankind was never meant to live in a place where water freezes all by itself…

  19. Bride of Shrek says


    see post #6. The only frozen water around here is keeping my 5 o’clock drink cold.

    All good things must come to an end though and reluctantly, we are being transferred down south to a much colder clime in January. I’ve spent all my life amongst the palm trees, the cane fields and the rainforest, I’m going to bloody freeze. I’ve never even SEEN snow in my life, I don’t own a single sweater and I have no idea how to heat a house.

  20. Peter Ashby says

    It doesn’t take stupidity to do something like this, just a moment’s lack of thought, I once stuck my finger next to the spinning router bit plunged below my router to clear a shard of wood that had lodged itself. Why did I not switch the machine off and retract the router bit? Simple, it didn’t occur to me to do so at that particular moment of time. In dozens of previous occasions it did so occur and so I turned it off and retracted the bit, waited for it to stop spinning, I may even have unplugged the power cable. It wasn’t a stupid thing to do, it was a thoughtless thing to do. Literally.

    Fortunately for me it was a mere straight cutter not some fancy profile bit and it just sort of punched the tip of my finger out of the way. Sore and only slightly bloody, I counted myself lucky. I was 41…

  21. Peter Ashby says

    Ah yes Bride of Shrek, I know of what you speak. Last weekend we met up with my wife’s cousin and his partner in the Scottish Highlands where the eldest spawn is working. We then went and found some snow, it was the first such substance the cousin had ever seen in his life. The poor boy was brought up in Perth you see. You would have thought all his xmases had come at once, he even enjoyed being pelted with snowballs.

    Anyway as a good Kiwi I say pah! to your intimations of imminent cryopreservation, it hardly ever snows even in Hobart! I’ll grant that Canberra gets some frosts. Try moving to Dunedin, Christchurch or even Invercargill in the South Island of New Zealand, stop being a wimp!

    And no poisonous beasties, in our out of the water either, we even have giant squid. I remember visiting Aussies having kittens when we just stepped casually over fallen logs in the bush, only exposure, falling down or getting shot by a hunting companion will kill you in the NZ bush.

  22. Colin says

    That reminds me of the farm safety videos we had to watch back in school. I remember seeing the same thing but with the other fingers as well. After that, I no longer had the urge to stick my hand in an auger or get run over by a tractor.

  23. Bride of Shrek says

    Ah Peter Ashby

    Ye of the 7th state of Australia. I am of the rare Australian persuasian that will admit to absolutely loving New Zealand. I’ve been there four or five times, adore the place, would move there in a heartbeat and my favourite isle is the South.

    However, I have am yet to see this snow thing you all speak of fall from the sky. I have walked your Fox Glacier, I have transversed your Franz Joseph, all with suspicious white stuff on the ground. But to see it fall from the sky- I am skeptical. Could be a snow machine at 3 am for all I know.

    Ps Peter, with regards to the last World Cup. Whilst it may seem that we both did not win, we should stand proud in our common hatred of the Springboks.

  24. Peter Ashby says

    The heat has obviously boiled your perspective Bride of Shrek. Anytime Australia wishes to become the West Island of New Zealand you only have to apply.

    And I do not hate the Springboks, I love and admire the men in Green for they did selflessly and magnificently save the world from another England win, after your poofters capitulated to them. Some of us have to live here and watch television you know. I still shudder at the horror of last time. The mere sight of Dayglo makes me want to retch.

  25. John Phillips, FCD says

    Give it up you antipodeans, twice the English have done you when it matters, BTW, I am a Cymro not a Saes so no gloating from me at the discomfort of the Aussies, well not much :) The trouble was that both the Roos and the Kiwis thought they only had to turn up to win :)

    As to jewellery, I remember seeing a friend getting his signet ring jammed between a colour TV’s EHT output and ground while taking readings. This was on a mains circuit before earth leakage breakers were the norm in the UK. It wasn’t a pretty sight with the smell being enough to make you gag, he lost most of his little finger. I had never worn hand jewellery prior to that and definitely didn’t after as I always had my hands in one kind of working electronics or another.

  26. says

    A simple solution to that is to kill the engine before trying to clean out the snow. This isn’t a snowblower related injury. It’s a stupid related injury.

  27. Ken Mareld says

    Owww! I didn’t know a tendon could do that. Also wedding rings are a big no-no if you’re welding. A co-worker lost his finger when the ring got really really hot.

  28. pluky says

    Just because the engine has been killed, don’t presume it is safe to stick ones appendages into a jammed snow-blower. In some cases there is still sufficient tension in the drive chain to do serious damage. As a previous poster suggested, use a broom handle or similar tool.

  29. Chris Davis says

    A home contractor friend of mine had his ring finger tattooed right where his wedding ring fits – you can’t even see it when the ring is on.

    No worries about forgetting to take it off when he gets to work, or losing it on the job.

  30. says

    My husband once took the phrase “hand saw” a bit too literally and we got a nice look at his tendon. Fortunately there was no permanent damage, but he was damned lucky.

  31. Charles Soto says

    Another reason that despite being surrounded by a “sea of red” down here in central Texas, I sure as hell ain’t living where people use snow blowers. Bunch of crazy yanks!