Many people use snow blowers during the winter season, particularly after a moderate to heavy snowfall. Snow blowers can be particularly effective products, since they clear fallen snow by blowing it off to the side. They are often used on driveways, sidewalks and roadways. But, as with many other machines, snow blowers pose certain safety risks to consumers, especially since they can be used in residential or professional settings.
Snow blower-related injuries have caused over 9,000 Americans to lose fingers since 2003, and about 5,700 people are injured annually. These numbers, compiled by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (USCPSC) also show how roughly 15% of people who go to the emergency room for snow blower-related injuries end up having one or more fingers amputated as a result of the damages. In 2013 alone, nearly 1,000 people suffered from snow blower-related amputations. There are other injuries caused by snow blowers, as well. Many of these are caused by defectively built machinery.
Snow blower-related injuries most frequently occur when people try to unclog or clear snow from blocked snow blowers. Some consumers reported they disengaged the blades in their snow blower from moving, yet when they went to clear the chute the blades started spinning on their own. Others said that although they attempted to disengage the blades, they continued to spin. In many of these situations, consumers had serious hand injuries as a result.
Another example of faulty machinery is highlighted in a series of snow blowers that were recalled years ago, yet remain the cause for a large amount of serious, debilitating injuries. The snow blowers were manufactured between 2004-2006 and sold at major stores like Kmart and Sears under the names Yard machines, Craftsman and Troy-Bilt. The defective products had plastic rim tires, which, when temperatures became too low, would crack and explode into several pieces of shrapnel. Several consumers sustained major injuries, ranging from lost corneas to facial scarring, avulsed fingers and broken bones.
Consumers have fallen victim to defective snow blowers in other ways as well. Shockingly, the USCPSC reports that 19 people have been fatally injured in snow blower-related accidents. The other injuries reported to the USCPSC have been the result of carburetor leaks, O-ring leaks, discharge chute defects, clutch malfunctions, absent safety shields, carbon monoxide poisoning and fuel tank joint leaks. All of the major problems that have been reported, some fatal to consumers, are the responsibility of the manufacturer. It is the manufacturer’s duty to insure that they are providing a safe product to consumers, but all too often we see people who are injured or even lose their lives due to defective, deadly machinery.
If you or any of your loved ones are injured by a defective product, the products liability lawyers at Galfand Berger, LLP can help. With offices located in Philadelphia, Reading and Bethlehem, we serve clients throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey. To schedule a consultation, please call us at 800-222-8792 or complete our online contact form.