Chainsaw Safety Tips for Safe Operation

Like many other useful tools, a chainsaw is capable of causing injury or death if proper chainsaw safety principles are not followed.  Learning to use a chainsaw safely is beyond the scope of a single article.  Hopefully you have someone available to show you the basics of using your chainsaw, especially for big jobs like felling trees.  When you feel ready to head to the woods on your own, here are some tips for staying safe while cutting wood.

First, be careful when fueling the chainsaw.  Like any other gas powered tool, there is always the possibility of fire or explosion, especially if you are smoking or spill gasoline on a hot part of the machine.  So the first rule of chainsaw safety is to fuel it with caution.  (If you happen to be using an electric model, be very careful with the cord!)

Next, make sure the chainsaw is in proper operating condition.  Learn to inspect the guidebar and chain, the chain catcher, the anti-vibration mounts, the hand guards, and any other chainsaw safety features on your chainsaw.  Regular maintenance and inspection will minimize any accidents occuring because of malfunction.  Keep it lubricated according to manufacturer’s instructions, too.

Wear the right kind of clothing and protective gear when using your chainsaw.  Steel toed boots are good to wear, as is a hard hat.  Safety goggles will protect your eyes from splinters, and ear protection will protect your hearing from damage due to the noise of the chainsaw.  Make sure your clothing are comfortable for moving but close fitting at the same time.  You don’t want loose garments to get caught in the saw.

 

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If at all possible, always try to have someone with you when you are working with a chainsaw.  A second person can go get help in the event of an accident, and they can help provide first aid.  Chainsaw safety requires that you have an adequate first aid kit with you, as well.

Know your chainsaw well enough to be able to turn it off in a second without having to look.  Also, avoid instances in which kickback is likely to occur.  Kickback is a dangerous situation in which the chainsaw suddenly lurches upward out of control.  Here are some things to do to avoid kickback.  Don’t over-reach with the saw.  Keep it below the level of your chest.  Watch that you don’t let the nose of the guidebar bump anything accidentally, and always use the power on full strength whenever you are making a cut.  Keep your left hand firmly on the handle, too.

If you happen to be left-handed, you are at a bit of a disadvantage when it comes to chainsaw safety.  Chainsaws are designed to be used with the right hand dominant.  To use one left-handed is a safety hazard, so you should make every effort to learn to use it right-handed.  It is also possible to find a left-handed model of chainsaw.

Cutting your own wood can be a great source of energy efficient, renewable heating fuel, but there are hazards.  Make chainsaw safety practices a non-optional part of your wood-cutting.

(NOTE: we always recommend leaving tree removal and cutting to a professional tree service company. Operating a chainsaw has its adherent risk)