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Let It Snow: Standards Assure Safe Snow Removal amidst Stormy Forecasts

With the tremendous snowfall that hit the Mid-Atlantic and forecasts for continuing storms in the coming days, Americans are doing their best to deal with the after-effects of a huge storm. Fortunately, standards support safe and effective methods of snow removal, assuring that driveways and streets will soon be cleared for use.

For heavy snowfalls like the one predicted for the next few days, snow removal methods more powerful than a simple shovel may be necessary. An American National Standard (ANS) developed by the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute (OPEI), a member and accredited standards developer of the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), outlines safety standards for snow throwers. ANSI B71.3-2005, Snow Throwers - Safety Specifications, applies to walk-behind power snow throwers, ride-on power snow throwers, lawn ride-on tractors with snow thrower attachments, lawn and garden tractors with snow thrower attachments, and lever-steer ride-on machines with snow thrower attachments.

When operating loud equipment like snow throwers and blowers, it's important to assure that no damage is done to hearing. SAE J 1174-1985, Operator Ear Sound Level Measurement Procedure for Small engine powered Equipment, is a standard developed by SAE International that establishes the instrumentation and procedure to be used in measuring the operator ear sound level for engine powered equipment under 15 kilowatts (kW), such as snow blowers or lawn mowers. Another SAE standard, SAE J 1175-1985, Bystander Sound Level Measurement Procedure for Small Engine powered equipment, addresses the sound levels for those nearby. SAE is an ANSI member and accredited standards developer.

Operators of snow blowers may choose to wear hearing protectors to assure that no damage is done. ANSI/ASA S12.68-2007, Methods of Estimating Effective A-Weighted Sound Pressure Levels When Hearing Protectors are Worn is an ANS developed by the Acoustical Society of America (ASA), an ANSI member and accredited standards developer, that guides these protectors by offering methods for estimating sound pressure levels when they are worn.

Fortunately, many optimists choose to take advantage of the upcoming winter wonderland by going skiing. An ANS developed by the National Ski Areas Association (NSAA), an ANSI member and accredited standards developer, is in place to keep these people safe. ANSI B77.1-2006, Passenger Ropeways - Aerial Tramways, Aerial Lifts, Surface Lifts, Tows and Conveyors - Safety Requirements, covers design, installation, and operational procedures that protect skiers traveling up and down the slopes.

As the Mid-Atlantic is blanketed with inches of snow, standards will be there to assure safety for those looking to remove - or revel in - the fluffy stuff.


Jana Zabinski

Senior Director, Communications & Public Relations


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Beth Goodbaum

Journalist/Communications Specialist


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