Safety First: How to Safely Use a Chainsaw

As practical and quick as they are, chainsaws are also some of the most dangerous tools in common use today. Despite their popularity, hundreds of accidents resulting from them are recorded every year around the world.

What are some of the possible accidents associated with using chainsaws?

Related accidents include sharp, deep cuts to the body, eye damage from the entrance of wood pieces, ear damage from loud noise etc. Some of these injuries are fatal and may result in permanent bodily damage. Safety Precautions to Follow While Using a Chainsaw

Before starting

Do a prior inspection of the chainsaw. Inspect the chainsaw's individual parts, including the bar, the handles and the saw itself.

Put on the appropriate protective gear

This must include a hard protective helmet for the head and the ears, safety glasses for the eyes, overalls for the body and boots for the feet. The overalls shouldn't be too loose-fitting to get tangled up in the saw.

Read the manual that came with the chainsaw

This is a must, and one of the things every chainsaw owner must do. The manual contains detailed instructions on how to handle, lubricate and mix fuel for the chainsaw in addition to instructions on how to mount and start it safely. Most manuals come with illustrations for each step for easier application.

Inspect the area of activity.

Determine if the soil surface of your work area is slippery, and if, in the case of a forest or woods, there are obtrusive patches of undergrowth that may inhibit proper use of the saw.

In addition to reading the manual, take a moment to look at the nuts and bolts and ensure that they are fastened as required. Adjust the chain tension to appropriate levels every hour or so by loosening and retightening the bar nuts. Inspect the chain sharpness too. Dull chains damage the chainsaw and make cutting a pain.

While fueling

  • Do not smoke during refueling. In fact, refuel very far away from any sources of ignition. You risk starting an unstoppable forest fire when you don't.
  • Endeavor to fill the chainsaw's tanks with fuel and two cycle engine oil between cutting breaks. Operating on an empty tank is dangerous for the machine's functionality.
  • Stop the engine before refueling and let it cool first, especially in case of the fueling between cutting intervals.
  • After fueling, start the saw again from a location far away from the place of fueling. (A radius of 10 meters is advised.).
  • Also, avoid spilling gas onto engine during fueling. Incorporate the use of a funnel or gas can for better direction.

During use

Before starting the chainsaw, ensure that the chain brake is engaged by pushing the handle forward. Turn on the choke and then start the switch right after. This is necessary for a safe startup process.

In a case of an electric powered chainsaw, disconnect the cord from the power source while resting between cuts, or while shifting from one tree to another. For non-electric powered chainsaws, ensure that the chain brake is engaged instead.

Look out for saw kickback. It occurs when you saw away with a particular section of the top of the saw chain area, and results in the chainsaw kicking back to you in a sudden and dangerous movement. You can always use a tip guard for this, in addition to avoiding the kickback zone on the saw blade/ tip.

Make note of your standing position as you operate the machine. Only continue cutting if you feel comfortably positioned with your hands and feet at stable angles.Always have the saw blade face in front of you when moving downhill and ensure that its throttle interlocking ability is functional.

The must haves before using a chainsaw.

Whether you're practicing how to use one or planning to carry out actual cutting, using a chainsaw safely is paramount. These are some of the materials you must have with you at all times.

  • Protective clothing for the whole body: As mentioned above, this includes body fitting overalls, strong boots, hand gloves, hard helmets and safety glasses with shields. All these can be sourced easily from chainsaw dealerships.
  • First Aid kit: You need this in the case of an accident. Besides the regular constituents of a first aid kit, have with you an address and telephone number you can call in case of danger.
  • Enough fuel: The whole cutting process might require more than one tankful of fuel. You must have spare fuel with you for refueling between cuts; chainsaws do not work right on empty tanks.
  • Telephone: This is necessary for contacting anyone outside the cutting area. You must also have one for the easier calling of help in case of danger.
  • Manual: The chainsaw comes with a manual. You must have yours with you on any cutting day, and remember to read it before starting out.

What you must never do while using a chainsaw

There are hundreds of things you must never do, but the following are at the very top when it comes to using a chainsaw safely.

Never work alone with a chainsaw

You must always have someone with you, call them a partner-to-help, you call for help in case of an accident and warn you of existing dangers.

Never 'drop start' a chainsaw

You must always start the machine using one of the two safe methods; starting it on the ground or starting it between your legs. Drop-starting is reckless and very dangerous.

Never cut above your shoulder height

The chainsaw gets too close to your eyes when you do, sending a stream of tiny wood pieces into them at high speed. Besides, your arms cannot support the chainsaw for long in that position and will become fatigued in no time. Then you'll be even more prone to dangerous but avoidable cutting mistakes.

Never use a chainsaw without protective gear

This cannot be stressed enough. The body is the most vulnerable to injury in case of any accident with the chainsaw, with the majority of injuries affecting the thighs, hands, feet, and face. Protective clothing is not just desirable; it is necessary.Finally, remember to plan your cutting before using a chainsaw. There are various methods of cutting, but not all are safe. Look through the manual to see which cutting method will do less harm to your body and quicken the cutting process.

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