Navigation Links
Experience Not Always the Best Prescription for Snowblowers

New study finds experience does not always keep hands injury-free

LAS VEGAS, Feb. 27 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Snowblower-related injuries to the hand have been on the rise in recent years, with more than 5,000 injuries reported each year in the United States. Many of those injuries might be prevented with better safety features, according to a study presented today at the 2009 Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) ( Timely public safety announcements and increased safety features may be just what the doctor ordered when it comes to reducing snowblower-related hand injuries, it adds.

"Snowblower injuries are considered 'low-velocity missile' wounds. Nonetheless, the zone of injury is often much more extensive than can be seen on initial examination. In addition, although the injuries can be treated, the return to complete function is often not possible. As such, prevention of these injuries is truly the optimal strategy," said Daniel Master, M.D., the study's lead author and an orthopaedic surgery resident at the University Hospitals Case Medical Center in Cleveland.

Dr. Master and his team studied 22 patients who were treated between 2002 and 2005 at Connecticut's Hartford Hospital for snowblower injuries to the hand. The study considered factors such as:

  • age of the snowblower operator
  • experience of the operator
  • age of the snowblower itself
  • alcohol consumption near the time of snowblower use
  • snowfall accumulation
  • higher or lower temperature on the day of injury

The study revealed that snowblower injuries are most often associated with:

  • level of operator experience
  • older snowblower machines
  • denser snow associated with higher temperatures
  • misperceptions about snowblower design

Some of the study's results seem to be counterintuitive, said Dr. Master.

"Typically, you might expect injuries to be greater with an operator who has little experience with the snowblower," he noted. "But our study found the opposite to be true. The reason may be that when operators feel experienced with their machines, they develop a false sense of confidence and become a little more careless."

Operators may also be confused about the design of their machines, he said.

"Most injuries occur when the operator tries to unclog the exit chute by reaching into the chute's opening when the machine is still running," Dr. Master noted. "What the operator doesn't realize is that there are two blades on a snowblower -- the one in front of the machine that can be seen and a second blade, the impeller blade, which throws the snow out of the exit chute. This impeller blade cannot be seen and causes injuries in most cases."

Dr. Master further explained that, "patients can also injure themselves when the machine is not running because clogged impeller blades retain stored energy in the elastic drive belts of the machine. As such, once a clog has been removed from the blades, the drive belts are free to release that stored energy causing the blades to spin again, potentially leading to significant injury."

The study concludes that additional safety features for snowblowers would aid in reducing hand injuries (, and recommends design elements such as chute openings that would prevent operators from inserting their hands and blades that lock when the handle is released. It also recommends that local agencies provide public service announcements when weather patterns associated with snowblower injuries are present.

"When temperatures rise above 29 degrees and snowfall reaches 2 or 3 inches, local radio and weather channels should provide brief public safety announcements regarding snowblower use," Dr. Master said. "Isolated reports have shown that these announcements can be effective in preventing snowblower injuries."

Disclosure: Dr. Master and his co-authors received no compensation for this study.

Podium Presentation Abstract (

More information on snowblower safety


About AAOS" target="_new">

    For more information, contact:

    Catherine Dolf
    C (847) 894-9112 or O (847) 384-4034

    Lauren L. Pearson
    C (224) 374-8610 or O (847) 384-4031

SOURCE American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons
Copyright©2009 PR Newswire.
All rights reserved

Related medicine technology :

1. Stem Cell Treatment Leader Tiantan Puhua Adds Experienced International Medical Staff for Expanding Numbers of Patients
2. First Clinical Experience With Soliris(R) in Treating Patients With Two Rare Complement-Mediated Diseases Presented at ASH Annual Meeting
3. Analysis of Long-Term Vicriviroc Data Provides Evidence of Sustained Viral Suppression, Increased CD4 Cell Counts and Tolerability in Treatment-Experienced HIV-Infected Patients
4. CV Therapeutics Announces Archives of Internal Medicine Publication of Study Showing 20 Percent of Heart Attack Patients in Premier Registry Experienced Angina at One Year
5. Monotherapy BYETTA(R) (exenatide) Injection Study Results Presented at ADA 2008 Showed Adults with Type 2 Diabetes Experienced Improved Glycemic Control and Weight Loss
6. Top Academic Medical Centers, Research Institutions, and Partners Gather, Share Experiences and Success Stories at Velos eResearch Annual Meeting
7. Community Breast Center Experience Shows Real-World Application of Breast-Specific Gamma Imaging Has Significant Impact on Clinical Care
8. Study in JAMA Shows Patients Treated With Abbotts XIENCE(TM) V Drug Eluting Stent Experience Better Outcomes Than Patients Treated With Market-Leading Drug Eluting Stent
10. Clinical Experience With Peregrines Anti-Cancer Agent Bavituximab Presented at Leading Symposium on Anti-Angiogenic Agents
11. REMICADE-Treated Patients Experienced Rapid and Substantial Improvement in Psoriasis in Critical Regions of Body
Post Your Comments:
(Date:11/30/2015)... , Nov. 30, 2015  QT Vascular Ltd., ... and together with its subsidiaries, TriReme Medical LLC and ... company engaged in the design, assembly and distribution of ... vascular disease, is pleased to announce that a three-judge ... Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit ("Federal Circuit") ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... 2015   Royal Philips  (NYSE: PHG ... Radiology Solutions, a fully integrated, consultative approach to ... data-driven practice management approaches that combine imaging systems, ... improve care delivery and reduce costs. Making its ... North America Annual Meeting (RSNA) in ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... -- Nautilus Medical Inc. today announced worldwide availability of ... ). The release of MatrixRay to the entire medical ... North America) in Chicago - ... --> --> MatrixRay is the ... studies worldwide via a peer-to-peer exchange network of physicians ...
Breaking Medicine Technology:
(Date:11/30/2015)... ... November 30, 2015 , ... Olympic Gold Medalists and Celebrity ... brands across various categories through traditional and social media marketing campaigns and other ... of Gold Medal Moms who can connect with today’s most important consumer: mothers. ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... ... December 01, 2015 , ... The ... a 2015-2016 inductee into its VIP Woman of the Year Circle. She is ... leading networking organization exclusively for professional women, boasting 850,000 members and over 200 ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... , ... November 30, 2015 , ... ... (Meso Foundation) released information for caregivers and held two webinars on topics of ... on demand free of charge at . , With a loved ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... ... November 30, 2015 , ... MOSI recently added two state-of-the-art augmented reality (AR) ... the Jurassic to their collection of interactive exhibits within the Kids In Charge! building. ... allow guests to get closer than ever to a range of animals as they ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... VA (PRWEB) , ... November 30, 2015 , ... ... mesothelioma-affected community across the United States to access life-saving information provided ... Malignant Mesothelioma will consist of three individual conferences in three major cities: ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):