Massachusetts officials plead with people not to stick hands in snowblowers after multiple injuries

The first major snowstorm to hit New England this week has spurred officials to remind people of something that should go without saying -- don't put your hand in a snowblower.

The long-lasting snowstorm moved into the region Sunday night, bringing more than 2 feet of snow to parts of upstate New York, western Massachusetts, and Vermont on Tuesday, according to the National Weather Service.

Boston and other coastal communities in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut saw less than 6 inches of snow, but its arrival just before the rush hour commute Tuesday morning created massive traffic jams as commuters dealt with numerous accidents and jackknifed trucks.

Hospitals in Massachusetts also reported a rash of snowblower-related hand injuries over a two-day period.

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In Lawrence, near the New Hampshire state line, firefighters had to help free a man's hand from his snowblower after it got stuck inside.

Fire officials had to rescue a man who got his hand stuck in a snowblower on Tuesday morning. The firefighters then helped put the man's snowblower back together.

Fire officials had to rescue a man who got his hand stuck in a snowblower on Tuesday morning. The firefighters then helped put the man's snowblower back together. (Lawrence Fire Chief Brian Moriarty)

Lawrence Fire Chief Brian Moriarty shared photos on Twitter of firefighters helping to finish shoveling the man's driveway after he was sent to the hospital. The firefighters who responded to the scene then helped put his snowblower back together.

Firefighters helped shovel the man's driveway after freeing him from his snowblower.

Firefighters helped shovel the man's driveway after freeing him from his snowblower. (Lawrence Fire Chief Brian Moriarty)

"That’s service!!!  Great job!! Please don’t stick your hand in a snowblower," the chief said.

Across the state, at least 12 people were taken to hospitals in a two-day period after sticking their hands in snowblowers, MassLive reported.

One hospital, in particular, Lahey Hospital and Medical Center in Burlington, treated at least six people for snowblower-related injuries.

"Most commonly we have cuts to the fingers, we have had a few who have had finger amputations and they cannot be re-implanted because they are generally lost in the snow," Dr. Casper Reske-Nielsen, an emergency medicine physician at Lahey Hospital, told Boston 25 News.

Doreen Goy, of Warwick, R.I., uses a snowblower to clear a sidewalk after a second round of snow struck the area, on Tuesday. Hospitals in Massachusetts reported a rash of snowblower-related hand injuries over a two-day period

Doreen Goy, of Warwick, R.I., uses a snowblower to clear a sidewalk after a second round of snow struck the area, on Tuesday. Hospitals in Massachusetts reported a rash of snowblower-related hand injuries over a two-day period (AP Photo/William J. Kole)

Reske-Nielsen said that people often make the mistake of thinking just because the machine is off, that they are clear of any danger.

"I think most of them have turned it off before that but the problem is sometimes the motor gets jammed so even if it is off the springs will disengage once you release the obstruction," he told Boston 25.

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After the incident in Lawrence, the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency took to Twitter to praise the work of firefighters, but also offer up another important reminder.

"Keep hands out of snowblower chutes & buckets, even after the snowblower is turned off, as blades still may have tension to rotate," the agency said.

Tuesday’s snowstorm was related to the system that pummeled parts of the West and Midwest over the long Thanksgiving weekend and led to at least seven deaths. Duluth, Minnesota, got over 21 inches of snow, and blizzard conditions closed major highways in Wyoming and Colorado.

The rest of the workweek is expected to be slightly colder than normal, with temperatures in the Boston-area hovering around the mid-30 degrees, according to the National Weather Service.

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Parts of New England may see another round of light rain or even snow by Friday night.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.