Do Your HomeworkWhether you are using a chainsaw for the first or for the tenth time, it’s imperative to read the instruction manual before you begin using the product. Users should fully understand how to safely operate a saw. The instruction manual, aka owner’s manual, provides helpful tips on starting, storing, safety features, maintenance and proper clothing, including personal protective equipment. Also, the loggingsafety.com resource library has useful information on the proper and safe use of chainsaws, including specific materials on storm clean-up.It is highly recommended that you review the details on safety features designed to minimize the risk of injury. As stated above, the instruction manual provides recommendations on the appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) to wear while operating a chainsaw.Suit Up Before Revving UpUsers should always take the time to suit up in the recommended PPE every time they’ll be operating a chainsaw. Proper PPE for chainsaws should always include:
- Leg protection: Choose either protective chaps or protective pants with several layers of cut-retardant material designed to reduce the risk or severity of injury to the body parts. Make sure the inseam length of the leg protection is appropriate for your height.
- Protective work boots: Boots designed with safety in mind, including a protective toe caps, rugged lugged soles and good ankle support.
- Eye Protection: Keep specks of sawdust from hitting your eyes by wearing work glasses.
- Helmet System: Cover your most important asset — your head — with a hardhat that features hearing protection and a full-face screen, shielding your face from flying debris.
- Gloves: Never handle a chainsaw without gloves. Gloves enable a firm grip and some gloves now are featuring cut-retardant materials.
- Long-Sleeve Shirt: Keep arms covered in a long-sleeve shirt with a trim fit.
- The first two things to check: the weather report and the time of day. If the weather calls for high winds, rain or other inclement weather, it’s best to delay. Avoid starting a job close to dusk; you need full visibility to evaluate the work area and operate the chainsaw.
- Check the condition of the tree(s) before cutting to see if working on or around it poses any risks. Watch for power lines and other utility wires.
- Assess the size of the tree(s) to ensure your chainsaw and guide bar length is appropriate.
- If you’re working with a partner, plan where you’ll both be positioned while working. Make sure you have two safe exit strategies. No one on the work site should be within a distance of 2.5 times the length/height of the tree you are cutting.
- Ensure you have solid footing when operating the saw.
- Be aware of the reactive forces involved with a rotating saw chain – there are three types of forces possible: Pull-in, Push-back and Kickback.
- Take frequent rests and perform maintenance on your saw as required.
THAT’S Foundation Chairman