As winter storms continue to batter large portions of the U.S., federal safety officials have announced that several thousand Toro snow blowers sold at The Home Depot and Ace Hardware stores in recent years may have dangerous defects, which allow the auger blades to continue spinning when the control lever is released, increasing the risk of an amputation or serious laceration injuries.
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) announced a Toro snow blower recall on February 17, after at least five consumers reported the blades failed to disengage after releasing the throttle, allowing the sharp blades of the auger to continue rotating.
While no injuries have been reported to date, the CPSC is instructing customers to stop using the recalled Toro Power Max Snowthrowers immediately, to avoid injury risks.
The recall impacts an estimated 6,700 model year 2021 Toro Power Max 826 OHAE Snowthrowers with Model Number 37802. Recalled units contain a label on the rear of the device depicting the model number and serial numbers ranging between 408727584 through 408977626, 408977628 through 408978668, and 408978670 through 409042856.
The recalled snow blowers were manufactured in Juarez, Mexico, under The Toro Company. They were distributed for sale at The Home Depot, Ace Hardware, and authorized Toro dealers nationwide and online at www.homedepot.com, www.acehardware.com, and www.toro.com from November 2020 through January 2021 for approximately $1,200.
Customers with recalled Power Max snow blowers should stop using the devices immediately and contact their local authorized Toro dealer and reference the recall campaign number 21-080 to schedule a free repair, according to the CPSC. To locate the nearest authorized dealer, customers may call 833-254-8856 to access the 24-hour Toro Dealer locator system.
Officials are warning customers to never place their hands, limbs or allow clothing to come near the auger of a snowblower. The sharp, corkscrew shaped auger mechanism is designed to pull in snow before ejecting it through the chute, and can easily latch onto clothing, drawing an individual in towards the spinning blades.
The CPSC estimates each year, on average, there are more than 5,700 consumers treated at emergency rooms for snow thrower-related injuries, with the most injuries and amputation resulting from consumers attempting to clear the auger or discharging the chute with their hands.
As winter storms continue to cause freezing temperatures and snow accumulations across the nation, the CPSC recommends consumers using snow throwers to always abide by the following safety recommendations:
- Stop the engine and use a long stick to unclog wet snow and debris from the machine.
- Never use your hands to unclog a snow thrower.
- Always keep hands and feet away from all moving parts.
- Never leave the machine running in an enclosed area to avoid carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning
- Add fuel to the tank outdoors before starting the machine; don’t add gasoline to a running or hot engine. Always keep the gasoline can capped, and store gasoline out of the house and away from ignition sources.
- If you have an electric-powered snow thrower, be aware of where the power cord is at all times.