Twenty Two Tips For Chainsaw Safety
If you understand how your chainsaw works and how it’s intended to be used, you’ll significantly reduce the risk of getting in an accident – maybe by getting surprised by kickback or another unexpected reaction.
On top of that, you also get to maximize the life and utility of your saw as well as its cutting attachments.
Below are 22 tips that’ll help with that:
So now that you’ve taken the plunge with the best chainsaw for the money and are raring to go, here are the safety precautions to follow to prevent problems.
- Before operating any chainsaw, carefully read the operating and safety instructions provided by the manufacturer.
- Do not ever operate a chainsaw when fatigued. Similarly, do not operate it if you’ve been drinking alcohol, or if you have been taking medication of any kind – even if it’s just over-the-counter medication.
- Use the proper safety equipment: protective gloves, safety footwear, eye, hearing and head protection. Do not wear jewelry or loose-fitting clothing.
- When cutting, firmly hold the saw with both hands. Your thumbs and fingers should encircle both chainsaw handles. Grip the saw with your right hand on the rear handle, and your left hand on the front handle. Do so even if you’re left-handed.
- A firm grip will help maintain control of the saw in case there’s a kickback or some other unexpected reaction. Keep the handles clean, dry, and free of oil or fuel to avoid slipping and make sure you’re completely in control of the equipment.
- Chainsaws are made to be run at full power. In order to maximize productivity and reduce fatigue (which, in turn, keeps you safe), maintain a full throttle setting while you cut.
- When cutting, stand slightly to the side so you’re not on the plane of the guide bar and cutting chain. This way you decrease the risk of injury should you ever lose control of the saw.
- When carrying the chain saw, the engine should be stopped. The muffler should be away from your body, and the cutting chain and guide bar should be to the rear. Make sure that, when transporting it, you use the appropriate guide bar scabbard.
- Do not ever overreach or attempt to cut above your shoulder. Do not operate the saw in any position where you can’t hold it firmly and stay in complete control.
- Do not operate a chainsaw from a ladder or in a tree, unless you have the proper training and equipment to do it. Otherwise, the forces on the saw and the movement of the material getting cut are likely to make you lose your balance.
- Some cutting tasks require special skills and training. There’s no substitute for good judgment, so don’t do anything if you’re not 100% confident in your ability do so. When in doubt, it’s best to contact a professional.
- To be safe from kickback, make sure the location in which you’re cutting is obstruction-free. Do not let the guide bar’s nose contact a log, branch or other obstructions when operating the saw. Never cut near wire fences, chain link fences, or in any area where there might be scrap or lose wire.
- Do not begin to cut trees if you don’t have secure footing and a clear work area. Make sure you have a planned retreat path, so you’re not in the falling tree’s path.
- Be very careful if the wood closes in and pinches the chainsaw. The force exerted when the top chain is pinched will push it toward you, and if you attempt to pull it free, it’ll add to that, potentially making you pull the moving chain into yourself.
- Be very careful when cutting saplings or small-size brush, as the slender material might catch the cutting chain and get whipped toward you. That can easily throw off your balance.
- When you cut a limb or sapling under tension (a springpole), be alert for the spring back. Make sure you’re not struck by the limb or the chainsaw when the tension is released.
- Do not allow anyone else near the chainsaw once you start the chainsaw. Keep by-standers or animals away from the work area.
- Keep your entire body away from the cutting chain once the engine starts to run.
- Do not operate a chainsaw which is improperly adjusted, not completely assembled, or damaged in any way. Make sure the cutting chain completely stops moving when you release the control trigger. If you’re in doubt about the condition of the saw, consult a trusted servicing dealer.
- Follow the maintenance and sharpening instructions provided by the manufacturer. Sharpening cutting chain is a two-step process: you need to sharpen the cutting edge and adjust the depth gauge setting. When in doubt, see a trusted servicing dealer for repairs or advice.
- Only use replacement cutting chains and bars if they’re specified to work by the manufacturer. Cutting chains and guide bars will affect not only the performance but also the kickback safety of a chainsaw.
- Maintain proper chain tension. A loose chain might come off the guide bar, potentially striking the operator.
All chainsaw services that are not mentioned in the owner’s maintenance manual should only be performed by chainsaw service professionals. Improper maintenance might damage your saw, presenting a hazard to its operator. If for instance, you use an improper tool to remove the flywheel or hold it to remove the clutch, you could damage the flywheel, and it could break during operation.