13 Chainsaw Safety Tips To Avoid Injury (Read Before REPENT)

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​So even if you are a pro – much more if you are a newbie ​.... you need to be mindful of chainsaw safety tips. 

Don’t put your life on the line

Make sure to practice these safety tips whenever you need to use a chainsaw:

Choose Additional Safety Features

​Every chainsaw sold in America has to follow strict quality and safety regulations. There are however a few optional extras that some machines have and others don’t. Things to look for include anti kickback features, hand guards, and chain catchers. The chance of these features preventing injury are minimal but personally, I think they’re worth it for the piece of mind alone.

​Read the manual!​​​​​

Generally, I hate instruction manuals. Some are designed to increase complexity. Others talk to you like you’re a five year old. 

Chainsaws however, are something of an exception. A thorough understanding of the tools features is essential before you turn it on. Think of it like driving, you’re most likely to have an accident the very first time you try.

​This is perhaps the most important thing you need to keep in mind prior to chainsawing. Whether you are a newbie or a pro, you need to go through the instructional manual that comes with your power tool. The directions will help you assemble the chain and bar guide correctly, therefore preventing installation-associated misfires.

​Stay Protected

​Just like going to war, you need to go to the battle grounds with the appropriate shield and armor. The likelihood of injury can also be greatly reduced by wearing by wearing the right gear. So before  you blast your chainsaw on and raze down that monster of a tree to the ground, it is ideal that you have all of these on:

  • Hard Hat
  • Safety Goggles
  • Hearing Protectors
  • Chainsaw Protective Boots
  • Timber Chaps
  • Because of the high speed at which chainsaws operate, debris literally flies every time you cut something. In other words, wear safety glasses at all times.
  • If you’re cutting anything larger than a hedge, wear a hard hat.
  • Avoid slippery shoes, baggy clothing or lose tool belts of any kind.

As these protective gear can keep you safe around chainsaws. These can cause an unmitigated accident in the work place.If the chainsaw somehow makes contact with your person, these can make all the difference. Also make sure, you use a good chainsaw case to protect the saw from internal and external objects. 

Check the  first

Make sure to run over the controls, bolts, handles and chain tension to see if they are in their proper positions. Check the chain for sharpness, and the lubrication reservoir for content (it should be full.)

Inspect your surroundings

​Before going about with your sawing activity, inspect the tree carefully. Check if there are any surrounding debris, dirt and tree limbs – and make sure to get rid of them. See if there are any spikes, nails or metallic objects embedded on the tree as well. If it is feasible, try to avoid them.

Know Your Limits

​These days you don’t need to spend much to get some serious power. Unfortunately, a side effect of this is that there’s now plenty of people with very powerful chainsaws,very large trees and no idea which way those trees might fall. Basically, if it’s big enough to hurt you, it’s not a job that should be taken lightly. Either gain the experience by cutting much smaller trees first or just hire a professional. And if the tree is really large, skip the first option.

Start smart

​If a fueling station is nearby, make sure to start your chainsaw at least 10 feet away from this hazardous area. Check the brake and make sure it is engaged before you fire the chainsaw away.

Handle the Chainsaw with Care

​Should you need to move your chainsaw from one place to another, turn it off first! This is specifically important if you work near steep slopes and slippery surfaces. Whenever you handle your chainsaw, carry it in a way that the guidebar faces the rear. The bar, on the other hand, should face front if you need to descend from an uphill location.

Always turn the saw off if you plan on walking more than five feet. Add or subtract the number of feet depending on the ground hazards i.e. neatly trimmed lawn versus debris covered forest. Regardless of where you are walking, the guide bar should also be pointed to the rear unless your walking downhill in which case, do the opposite.

Refuel Your Chainsaw Carefully

That means stopping the engine prior to refueling, and avoiding smoking while you do so.Be careful when pouring the gas. Use a gas can or a filtering funnel while filling the fuel tank, so as to avoid gas spillage on a recently-used chainsaw engine. Lastly, don’t restart a chainsaw in the area where you refueled it. If you do, you might see sparks fly – literally! The chainsaw is a powerful device that cut, saw and trim branches in no time. So if you want to finish your duty – with your limbs complete and your body devoid of an injury – then make sure to adhere to these tips. Remember: safety first!

Power Off

It’s obvious but the list wouldn’t be complete without it, never add fuel to a chainsaw without first making absolutely sure that it’s powered off. If you’re using an electric chainsaw, on the other hand, the cord is the primary concern. Cords can easily be tripped over and a chainsaw is literally the last thing that you want to be carrying should it happen.

Never Cut Above Your Reach

​If you need to cut something above your reach, you need one of two things; a professional or a device that can safely get you off the ground. And by that I don’t mean a ladder. Ladders and chainsaws simply do not mix. Neither does climbing and chainsaws. Arborists make it look easy. But that’s called extensive training not natural climbing skills.

Extra Precautions

​If you’re operating a chainsaw anywhere but in private, an extra person or at least a mobile phone (literally on you) is always a good idea. Any kind of chainsaw injury can easily render you unable to move. Needless to say, a first aid kit is also a very good addition to your tool box.

Store Safely

​If you have children, or just particularly irresponsible adults, living with you, store your chainsaw either out of their reach or in a locked box. This applies to pretty much any power tool with fast moving parts, but chainsaws in particular. Needless to say a chainsaw is also not something that you should leave unattended in the garden while you go inside to get something.

Don’t Drink

​Finally, light yard work can be a great way to spend a Sunday afternoon. And light yard work with a beer or two can be even better. Unfortunately, chainsaws are not light yard work. They’re yard work that can get you maimed. Therefore if you like to mix the two, get the chainsaw out before you get the cooler out. This might sound like obvious advice but the statistics don’t like. Quite a few people think they mix well.

​Conclusion

For the first time user, chainsaws can be pretty scary things. And that’s understandable. As a general rule of thumb, if you see sharp blades moving faster than your eyes can follow, you’re probably looking at something that should be used with caution.

The good news is that chainsaw safety can be learned in less than an hour. That combined with the self discipline not to start climbing trees, and you should be left with an appliance that will happily keep your garden hedges short without, well, cutting your arm off.

Chris Ross
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