Snowblower engaged when worker tried to clear chute

Mike Carson
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SLEMON PARK – A Slemon Park employee was unaware that the snowblower he was operating was still engaged when he attempted to clear a blockage in the chute causing serious injury to his hand, says Bill Reid, director of Occupational Health and Safety.

 

The accident occurred on Dec. 3 and Occupational Health and Safety has been investigating the circumstances surrounding the incident.

Reid said investigators have talked to the employee and recorded his account of what happened.

“We're just a little bit further along in our investigation,” Reid said. “We know that the worker attempted to clear a clog in the chute of the snowblower and used his hand to clear it thinking that the auger in the machine wasn’t running, but it was. Basically, he lost half of his hand as a result of thinking that the equipment was not running.”

Reid said the investigation is continuing and will involve examining the equipment and the safeguards that were on the equipment. 

Reid is advising the public to take extreme care when operating snowblowers this winter.

“The message is, never stick your hand in a chute to clear it,” he said. “Use a tool. Never assume it’s not running or under power.”

mcarson@journalpioneer.com

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