Basic chainsaw safety is something that everyone who operates a chainsaw must take seriously. All it takes is a split second for something to go horribly wrong. And with a machine such as a chainsaw, when accidents do happen, they can very quickly turn lethal.
Fortunately, you can minimize the risk of a dangerous incident happening by following some basic chainsaw safety tips. Safety precautions with chainsaws begin even before you turn them on, and you should continue to apply them the entire time they are in use.
Before we get into our top six chainsaw safety tips that we want to share with you today, let’s go over a few more general safety basics that should always be kept in mind as well.
- Quick, general safety tips
- Top 6 most important chainsaw safety tips
Quick, general safety tips
- Perform a pre-work inspection of the area you will be working in; ensure the floor is clear of wet spots, debris, or any other hazards that could lead to an accident
- It’s recommended that you never operate a chainsaw alone; there should always be at least one other person to get help if something were to go wrong
- That being said, keep anyone else with you (especially children) at a minimum safe distance while you are operating the chainsaw
Top 6 most important chainsaw safety tips
1. Wear Proper Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
The first, and quite possibly the most important rule to follow when it comes to chainsaw safety is ensuring that you are wearing proper personal protective equipment. At the bare minimum, this includes:
- A hard hat
- Hearing protection of some sort—aim to reduce noise levels to 90 decibels
- Face mask, or at least safety goggles
- Heavy-duty protective gloves (leather material is recommended)
- Chainsaw pants or protective chaps—most chainsaw injuries happen to the thigh while the user is holding a running saw
- Steel-toed safety boots with nonslip soles
It should be noted that wearing proper protective gear absolutely does not guarantee your safety. There is no substitute for following proper working safety standards when operating a chainsaw; protective clothing is merely an added precaution.
2. Follow basic operating instructions
Each and every chainsaw that is sold comes with a set of included instructions. These manuals are included for a reason—the information they contain is vital when it comes to the use, maintenance, and safety precautions associated with your chainsaw. This safety tip is absolutely of huge importance especially if you are a first-time chainsaw owner. Take the time to read through the included manual, they contain more than just warranty information.
3. Keep your chainsaw cleaned and properly maintained
One of the easiest ways to prevent possible accidents when using your chainsaw is to make sure that you keep on top of cleaning and performing maintenance on it. The chainsaw should be cleaned on a regular basis, and the chain should be kept sharpened so as to prevent kickbacks and to keep it working efficiently; when necessary, the bar and chain should be replaced.
There’s a guide on this site on how to properly do all of this, be sure to check it out if you are unsure of how to do it yourself. It takes a minimal amount of time to do everything we just mentioned, but in the long run, the basics like this might save your life.
4. Always avoid the kickback zone
The top half of the tip of the bar is known as the kickback zone. It’s referred to this due to the fact that if it comes into contact with an object while the chain is moving, it will kick up and towards your body. Most modern chainsaws are equipped with a brake that will halt the chain if this occurs; it’s still extremely good practice to not rely on this.
The safest bet of all is to always remain aware of, and avoid, the kickback zone. It’s easy enough to do so long as you’re conscious of the danger and remain braced. Simply wrap the thumb of your left hand around the front handle while cutting. This will help to keep the saw under control should kickback occur.
5. Maintain a proper stance when using a chainsaw
One of the easiest ways to prevent injuring yourself while using a chainsaw is to always stand with a proper stance. The best way to position your body is by assuming a “boxer’s stance,” with one foot slightly ahead of the other. This stance will provide you with adequate balance while using the chainsaw.
If you have to cut lower, do so by bending at the knees instead of curving your back to avoid putting unnecessary pressure on your spine. Grip the chainsaw as described above to avoid the kickback zone. It’s also a good idea to hold the chainsaw close to your body in order to help your balance out even further.
6. Plan out your cutting strategy
The final safety tip that we want to leave you guys with today is simple in theory, but it can actually take quite a bit of in-depth examination. Before you begin whatever project you have ahead of you with your chainsaw, you should take the time to plan your cutting strategy. Take cutting up a tree for example. Take a moment to size the tree up before you start to cut.
Envision each cut and where each piece of the tree will end up falling. You want to make sure that there is open ground wherever something will be falling. Make sure that you start every cut with a full throttle before you even touch any part of the tree. If you have a solid vision of how you will be approaching your cuts, you can minimize the risk of anything going wrong while you work.
In all honesty, staying safe while using a chainsaw isn’t too complicated. Some simple precautions are all it takes to dramatically lower your risks of an accident happening. Everything that we covered above is incredibly basic information, but often times, that sort of info can make all the difference in the world when it comes to staying safe.
Whatever you do, as long as you are sure to practice the safety techniques described in this article, you will most likely avoid having any serious accidents happen.