Important Safety Tips for Snow Thrower Operation

The Outdoor Power Equipment Institute (OPEI), the leading trade association for outdoor power equipment, reminds everyone using snow throwers to always think safety first. Obeying the following eight crucial operating and safety tips will help prevent injuries and get you safely through the winter season:

  • Read the owner’s manual thoroughly and understand all recommended operating and safety procedures before turning on the snow thrower.
  • Never put your hands inside the chute for any reason. When the snow is wet, the snow thrower chute may become clogged. When this happens, turn off the snow thrower engine and wait for all moving parts to come to a complete stop. Then, with a cleanout tool, clear the chute. If repair is needed, be sure to turn the engine off first and wait for all moving parts to come to a complete stop.
  • Never disable safety features. The OPC (operator presence control) causes the snow thrower engine to stop within five seconds after an operator lets go of the controls. This is an important safety feature designed to help protect users. No matter how often the snow thrower may clog with wet snow, never disable this important safety feature.
  • Wear appropriate reflective clothing and footwear for the weather and activity. Avoid wearing loose fitting clothing. Wear safety glasses to protect eyes from thrown ice, stones, and other projectiles and pull long hair back into a ponytail or keep contained.
  • Never allow children to operate the equipment. Keep children indoors and under supervision.
  • Never allow anyone in front of the equipment.
  • Never throw snow toward people or cars.
  • Be aware of any objects that may be hidden under the snow.

For more advice on how to operate and maintain your equipment safely, visit the OPEI seasonal maintenance tips at

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