While chainsaws are a convenient and efficient tools for applications such as cutting wood, improper use can result in accidents and serious injuries. According to data compiled by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), around 36,000 people are injured by chainsaws on an annual basis. The average chainsaw-related injury requires over a hundred stitches, and incurs a medical cost of $5,600.
In order to avoid injuries and accidents, it’s vital to take certain safety precautions when operating a chainsaw. So if you’ve recently acquired a chainsaw, it’s important that you read the owner’s manual before you use it for any application. Being familiar with the machine will help you avoid any techniques that may put your safety in jeopardy.
However, when it comes to operating a chainsaw, there are some precautionary safety measures that you won’t find in the user’s manual. But fear not! To ensure your safety, here are some chainsaw operating tips from the experts at DR Super Store.
Selecting the Right Chainsaw
The first step in ensuring chainsaw safety is making sure that the machine you’re using is appropriate for the job at hand. Most chainsaws that are over 20” in length are designed to be exclusively used for professional wood cutters, and are generally not suitable for home use. Moreover, before you use you use your chainsaw, you need to make sure that you’re comfortable with its weight. You should be easily able to raise it over a tree limb or a log without tiring or losing your balance.
The Safety Gear You Need
Operating a chainsaw is something that requires a significant amount of energy, focus and concentration. Make sure you’re well-rested, alert and energized before you pick up your machine and head off to the wood lot or the wood pile. The next step is ensuring that you’re equipped with all the necessary safety gear and equipment. These include safety goggles, safety gloves, a hard hat, and perhaps most importantly, some good quality chainsaw chaps.
Many people make the mistake of undermining the importance of chainsaw chaps. This is a critical piece of safety equipment that can potentially save your life. There are fibers in the protective padding of the chaps that will get pulled into the drive sprocket of the saw if it hits your leg, causing the saw to jam before it causes any major damage.
Moreover, wearing closed-toe shoes that offer good traction is something that goes without saying. Most experts recommend steel-toed shoes. Also, avoid wearing any jewelry or loose-fitting closing which may get caught in the rotating chain of the machine.
Pre-operation Inspection is Key
Before you fire up the chainsaw, make sure that it’s in optimal working condition. Removing any rocks, dirt, tree limbs, or debris from the intended path of the chainsaw will help prevent damage to your machine, and will ensure a smooth operation.
Thoroughly check the path of the chainsaw and ensure that it’ free of spikes, nails, or any other type of metal objects. The next step involves checking all the handles and controls, and making sure the chain is appropriately tensioned in accordance with the manufacturer’s specifications.
Make sure that the teeth of the saw are sharp to ensure precise, safe cutting. Also, ensure that there’s a sufficient amount of oil in the machine so that the chain and the bar have enough lubrication for safe, efficient operation. Furthermore, you should never refuel a chainsaw while it’s still running. Also, it’s important to keep fuels at least 10 feet away from any potential sources of fire.
When it comes to starting a chainsaw, you should always use both hands, and “drop starting” is something you should never attempt. To start your chainsaw, place the saw on level ground and use one hand to secure it there. Use your other hand to pull the starter cord.
Moreover, to ensure precise, safe cutting, you should always use both your hands when operating the chainsaw. It’s important to maintain a balanced stance while keeping a firm grip on the machine. This is essential for minimizing fatigue and keeping the chainsaw under control. Operating on an unstable surface or sawing with the machine between your legs are two things you should never attempt.
Before starting off, taking a couple of practice strokes with your chainsaw will help you in gauging how familiar and comfortable you are with the machine.
Kickback is the Leading Cause of Chainsaw Injuries
A “kickback” happens when the teeth of the saw blade are caught on something, or when the saw chain is pinched by wood, resulting in the blade violently kicking back in the operator’s direction. The vast majority of chainsaws you buy today come fitted with front hand guards and chain brakes that are designed to mitigate the risk of accidents and kickback-related injuries. You can also opt for a low-kickback saw chains.
However, regardless of the type of chainsaw you’re using, it’s best to take certain safety precautions against kickbacks.
- Always use the right technique, which is using the base of the saw blade – and not the tip – to cut wood.
- Steer clear of situations where there’s a danger of the saw blade binding in the wood.
- Making sure a tip guard is installed on the bar’s nose.
If you’re having trouble concentrating or feeling fatigued, you should stop using the chainsaw immediately.
The Bottom Line
Remember, while a chainsaw is an extremely powerful tool, it can be extremely dangerous if not used correctly. Therefore, it’s important to exercise caution when using your machine, and keeping it properly maintained at all times.
DR Power Super Store is a leading supplier of DR power equipment in Huntsville, Alabama. We offer an assortment of DR Power tools – ranging from lawn edgers and mowers, to chainsaws – for rent and for sale. Check out our inventory of products or get in touch with us for more information.