Workers Compensation Board urges snowblower safety

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With the recent snowfall and more flurries in the forecast, many Islanders are operating commercial or residential snow removal machinery.

The Workers Compensation Board (WCB) cautions all Islanders to follow safe practices while using snowblowers or tractors.

Inadequate training, improper use or insufficient maintenance of equipment can result in serious injuries.

Two incidents last winter are tragic reminders of how workplace injuries can have life-altering impacts.

The incidents involved Power Take Offs (PTOs) which are commonly found on tractors that are used to clear snow from roads and driveways.

In December 2013, a snowblower operator suffered a serious hand injury while attempting to clear snow from the chute while the PTO was still engaged.

One month earlier, a farm worker was severely injured when he became entangled in a PTO driveline on a grain auger.

To work safely with PTOs and prevent snow removal injuries, the WCB has the following recommendations:

• Ensure that all equipment is adequately guarded and follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for safe operation.

• Ensure all operators have proper training prior to the operation of any snow removal equipment.

• Completely power down all snow removal equipment before attempting to clear any clogged snow.

• Never use your hands to clear any clogged snow, always use a tool that will keep your hands from coming into contact with rotating equipment.

More information about workplace hazards and ways to prevent injuries are available in the Snowblower Hazard Alert and Farm Machinery Hazard Alert on the WCB website.

For more information about workplace safety, contact the WCB at 902-368-5680 or 1-800-237-5049 (toll free in Atlantic Canada).

Organizations: Workers Compensation Board

Geographic location: Atlantic Canada

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