Working with chainsaws can be a dangerous job, and operators should use protective clothing and practice safe procedures. The toothed, rotating chain used to fell trees can cause lacerations—the most common chainsaw injury—when the equipment is used improperly. These chainsaw safety tips can help you avoid needless injury whether on the job or private property.
Tip #1: Use protective equipment.
Some chainsaws come equipped with fail safes like a chain brake, which activates during kickback, and a tip protector, which reduces kickback. Additionally, chainsaw manufacturers must design sharp chains with proper teeth depth. Depth gauges that are too low lead to difficulty controlling the machine and increased risk of kickback. Here are some other chainsaw safety features:
- Throttle lock, which ensures the machine only operates while you’re pressing the right button
- Right-hand guard, which shields your hand from derailment or chain break
- Stop control, an accessible mechanism that instantly halts the chain
You cannot rely on built-in safety equipment alone. Some personal protective equipment that you can wear includes:
- Eye protection, including safety goggles, standard face shields, and safety glasses;
- Head protection, like standard hard hats;
- Hearing protection, like ear muffs and ear plugs that protect against noise levels around 95 to 115 dBA;
- Body protection, including forestry jackets and chaps;
- Hand protection, like gloves and mitts with good grip; and
- Foot protection, including cut-resistant, well-fitted boots good for rough terrain.
Tip #2: Fuel the saw safely.
Chainsaw safety protocol should also be implemented when refueling. When refueling your chainsaw, heed the following:
- Do not refuel a hot—or recently operated—chainsaw.
- Do use fuel containers with metal or plastic approved by nationally recognized testing facilities like the Department of Transportation of Factory Mutual.
- Do not exceed a fuel container capacity of five gallons.
- Do not smoke while refueling chainsaw.
- Do fuel container at least 10 feet away from flames, sparks, or intense heat.
Tip #3: Operate chainsaw correctly.
While using a chainsaw, you should practice safe handling. Safety equipment on both your body and the saw only goes so far when an operator acts carelessly. While you’re using the chainsaw, follow these chainsaw safety tips:
- Position yourself with sturdy footing.
- Grip the chainsaw with a sure hand and the thumb under the front handle.
- Be confident; hold the chainsaw close to your body and below the head.
- Ensure other workers and companions are at least 10 feet from you while chainsaw is running.
- Halt the chainsaw while moving to a different position.
- Clean work area of debris that hinders the chainsaw’s progress.
- Pay attention to the machine and your surroundings in preparation for kickback.
Tip #4: Pay attention to chainsaw training for effective operation.
Cutting down trees require a certain level of training that will minimize injury from chainsaws and falling trees. While felling trees, follow all work procedures and OSHA requirements for the safety of yourself and your coworkers. Pay attention to the tree lean, which will affect felling direction. If you need to control the fall of a tree against its natural felling direction, use proper equipment and confirm your training; otherwise, the best action is to allow the tree to fall where it wants.
If you are using a chainsaw for personal use, take a training course in case you are unfamiliar with safe chainsaw procedures. Additionally, you can regularly check your equipment and update any features when necessary. If you follow these chainsaw safety tips, you can greatly reduce the likelihood of injury while operating a potentially dangerous machine!
Meadows Farm Equipment is proud to serve Wedowee and the surrounding community for its small engines and power equipment needs. Come see us today on County Road 811 in Wedowee, or visit us at www.meadowsfarmequipment.com!