Cleaning up after the blizzard that swept over the Northeast this week has proven to be difficult and dangerous – especially for some residents in New Jersey that ended up in the hospital with serious hand injuries.
A dozen people in northern New Jersey were treated for hand injuries Monday, according to NorthJersey.com, from trying to unclog snowblowers.
One case even required surgery after a man partially amputated two of his fingers, Dr. Joseph Feldman, chairman of the department of emergency medicine at Hackensack University Medical Center in New Jersey said.
"I say to people, 'Would you put your hand in a blender or under a lawn mower?'" Feldman told the website. "If the answer is no, why would you put your hand in a snowblower?"
Apparently finger amputations and injuries from snowblowers are not that uncommon. According to the latest statistics from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), estimates that each year more than 5,700 emergency room-related visits stem from snow blower accidents, with around 590 of them requiring finger amputations. And since 1992, the CPSC has recorded 19 deaths involving snow blowers.
The CPSC offers these safety tips in order to avoid injury:
- Stop the engine and use a long stick to unclog wet snow and debris from the machine. Do not use your hands to unclog a snow blower
- Always keep hands and feet away from all moving parts
- Never leave the machine running in an enclosed area
- Add fuel to the tank outdoors before starting the machine; don’t add gasoline to a running or hot engine
- If you have an electric-powered snow blower, be aware of where the power cord is at all times
In addition to the hand injuries, Hackensack University Medical Center treated 14 other patients with blizzard-related injuries ranging from falls to chest pains and elevated heart rates.