Wow am I lucky!!

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by Doogiegh, Dec 9, 2002.

  1. Doogiegh

    Doogiegh LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 871

    With all of the snow we had in NJ on Thursday, a buddy and myself went around to a couple of houses to make some extra money just snow blowing. Neither one of us has a plow or any inclination right now to get one.

    He has a Toro CCR 3650 new and I have a Toro 421 metal auger thrower which from the model and serial number I estimate to be from 1983-1984.

    We were on our last house and were finished for the night. I turned my 421 off in a snowbank and did something that I knew should never be done when the machine is on, but it was off.. I used my hand to clear out the top shute where the snow comes out from.

    In doing that, that dislodged some ice chunks that were holding the augers in place. As soon as the ice dislodged, there was still pressure in the trans and everything turned a half turn.

    I am very lucky I still have all of my fingers and the tips. The machine caught my left hand (which was inside a ski glove) and did the following:

    Thumb - not touched.
    Pointer finger - top knuckle bone broken, gory cut, took 3 stitches.
    Middle finger - bone good, another cut, took 2 stitches.
    ring finger - top knuckle bone chipped, not cut at all.
    pinkie - not touched.

    I have splints on my pointer and ring finger, both of which will be off in 3 weeks or less. Stitches come out next Saturday. At least I got all my jobs done, it doesn't affect my regular f/t job and there are no cleanups missed cause we got 8 inches on snow, 5 inches still on the ground, very little melted so far..

    I know we all use power equipment basically year round. I know that when the snow blowers jam, to clear the jam with a stick or pole, whatever. But we were done and the machine was off. But the ice had lodged leaving built up tension in the gears. I know it would of cleared itself if I just let the snow melt, but I try to take care of my equipment.

    The hospital I went to told me that another guy was in there 3 hours earlier and lost 2 fingers completely. He was trying to clear the machine and admitted he had it turned on, augers running. The guy thought he was "quick enough" to jab in with his finger to dislodge something but obviously wasn't. He was oriental, I guess he wanted to kung-fu the machine.

    Anyway guys, be careful. Trust me that this happened in only a split second and caught me by surprise as I didn't know the trans could hold pressure in it.

    Any of you can reply and say I'm a dumb-*** for doing what I did but if the machine is off, well what the heck? Makes me wonder how to clear out the lawnmower blades in early spring if it gets too thick and heavy and the 21" stalls.. And how to change all blades safely, even with the machine off?

    No matter what you say, be careful, crap like this happened in a split second, the pain was the worst in my life and could of been much much worse of an outcome.
  2. Doogiegh

    Doogiegh LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 871

    This is the only pic I will post.

  3. Randy Scott

    Randy Scott LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,915

    Yes you are!
  4. Boycea

    Boycea LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 451

    My neighbor did the same thing that you did. The blower was off and in the garage and he was celaring the shute out with his hand. He wasn't as lucky as you and lost one of his fingers. Be careful, glad to hear it wasn't worse.
  5. SLS

    SLS LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Mars
    Messages: 1,540

    I've never owned (or used) a snow blower. But, if perchance, I ever do, I now know that the auger can retain tension...even after the engine has been shut off. I wouldn't have known this had you not shared your experience with us. Thanks for the warning, may have saved some of us our fingers or hand someday! :)

    I'm glad you did not lose any digits in your accident, and that all is going to heal nicely...and soon! :D
  6. Flyrod

    Flyrod LawnSite Member
    Messages: 9

    Wow,I've been clearing my 2-stage with my hands, I guess I will never do it again. Thanks for the warning, I hope you heal soon.
  7. GroundKprs

    GroundKprs LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,969

    Use 2 stages here regularly and never thought of tension aspect. But since I broke two fingertips years ago, being in too much of a hurry (auger hadn't stopped completely), I use special sticks and rubber hammer.

    Learned a funny fact at the emergency room that time. Nurse commented that fingers were not cut. The doc then said: "Yes, it was just an impact injury. And most lawnmower blade injuries are impact, rather than cuts, because lawnmower blades are so dull." Was referring to mostly homeowner injuries, of course.
  8. mdb landscaping

    mdb landscaping LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,205

    After this most recent storm, they were talking about that on the news. there were several serious injuries do to exactly what you explained. Any time im using a snowblower and it clogs, i shut it off and clear the jam with a pole or stick.
  9. stick9

    stick9 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 262

    I say go play the lotto or something. That could've been WAYYYYYY worse. Thank God it wasn't!

  10. stslawncare

    stslawncare LawnSite Bronze Member
    from DE
    Messages: 1,484

    ur are correct. u are very lucky. i am suprised we didnt get any calls for anyone with similar injury

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