The Consumer Product Safety Commission is an independent government body whose role is to protect the public from “unreasonable risks of injury or death” associated with the use of consumer products. One product recently identified to be unsafe, and meriting a recall is the snowthrower/snowblower manufactured by the Toro Company. The recall states that the auger, or metal blade located at the front of the snowblower responsible for cutting through the snow and ultimately pushing out or propelling the snow, fails to disengage even after release of the control handle.
Those with the Model Year 2021 Toro Power Max 826 OHAE Snowthrowers with Model Number 37802 have been advised to stop using the Snowthrower and contact an authorized Toro dealer for a repair.
Injuries from a snowblower, however, are not limited to cases where a defective control exists. In cases where heavy snow gets caught in the auger blades, there are many cases of amputation injuries when people use their hands or feet to try to clear the auger or chute where the snow is discharged.
Even after a machine is turned off, the momentum of the auger or residual torque within the auger alone can result in injury.
One study found that although individuals were aware not to place a body part in the auger of the snowblower, many were not aware that the discharge chute where the snow is thrown may also have sharp impeller blades that can cause injury.
Surprisingly, operator inexperience alone is found not to be a factor in sustaining snowblower injuries.
Further development of safety standards by manufacturers should help in preventing future injuries.
Dr. John, Esq. is both an attorney and a physician. Before obtaining his law degree, Dr. John Naranja practiced for approximately 12 years as an orthopedic surgeon.