Chainsaw Safety – Using the right techniques
When working with a chainsaw, safety should always be your first concern. The chainsaw is a powerful and effective machine, but it can also be extremely dangerous if used incorrectly. To ensure your safety is not compromised, we recommend you follow these simple guidelines.
Get safety training!
In order to avoid unnecessary accidents and bad work practices, you should use the correct techniques and the best way to do this is to undertake some professional training. Teaching yourself how to use a chainsaw can put your safety at risk, just one incorrect action significantly increases the risk of accident. There are many organizations that provide courses in chainsaw operation and safety, such as your local TAFE institute.
Six steps to safe chainsaw operation
Regardless of your level of experience, when operating a chainsaw Husqvarna recommends you follow these six basic steps to safe use;
- Select the right saw.
Use a mid-sized saw for cutting wood on the ground, such as one with a bar of 16 to 20 inches, for good manoeuvrability without being too heavy. For smaller limbs, a lightweight, high-speed saw is recommended. Look for design features like good balance, low vibration and high power-to-weight ratio.
- Wear protective apparel
By far the most overlooked aspect of chain saw operation is appropriate apparel. A properly outfitted operator wears protective chaps or pants, eye and ear protection, protective footwear and work gloves, and a helmet.
- Inspect the saw before use.
Ensure both the inertia and manual activation of the chain brake are in proper working condition. Inspect the chain catcher for damage and have it repaired as necessary. Also, test the throttle lock-out feature for proper operation. Inspect the bar and chain and repair or replace as necessary. Check for correct chain tension.
- Start safe
A chain saw is safest to start on the ground with the chain brake engaged. Be sure nothing is obstructing the guide bar/chain. To ensure the saw sits securely on the ground, place your right foot in the rear handle, and hold the front handle steady with your left hand. Start the chainsaw with your right hand.
- Carefully plan your cutting job.
Potential factors include tree lean, electric lines, wind, adjacent roads and bystanders, and dead limbs. Note that “struck-by” injuries from falling limbs are one of the most common accidents with chainsaw operation.
- Protect yourself against “kick-back.”
Never cut with the upper half of the tip of the bar. Kickback occurs when the tip of the bar comes in contact with an object or gets pinched during operation, causing the bar to “kick” up and back towards the operator and result in a loss of control and possible injury.
Chainsaw safety features
Chainsaw development has come a long way over the years and many modern chainsaws come standard with a range of safety features designed to prevent accidents and injury. Before you start working with your chainsaw, Husqvarna recommends you check to ensure it has the following safety features.
- Kickback Guard & Chain Brake
The kickback guard and chain brake protect the operator in the event of kick back when using the chainsaw. Exclusive to Husqvarna is the unique TrioBrake™ protection system that makes it possible to activate the chain brake in three ways, for increased operator protection.
- Throttle Lockout
The throttle lockout is designed to prevent accidental throttle advance when using the saw. The throttle control works only if the lockout is depressed, i.e. you have a steady grip on the rear handle of the saw with your right hand while you accelerate.
- Effective Vibration Reduction
A chainsaw with vibration dampeners has been designed to effectively reduce the vibration levels in the handles.
- Chain Catcher & Right-hand Guard
The chain catcher is designed to catch the chain should it break or derail. The right-hand guard is designed to protect the users hand in the event of a chain break.
- Accessible Stop Control
The stop control should be placed where it is easy to access on the saw so that the engine can be stopped quickly in a critical situation.
Most of all rely on your common sense and no-doubt your cutting tasks will go off without a hitch.