< General Saw Safety

General Chainsaw Safety Tips

Here are a couple lists of tips to help you operate your saw more safely:

  1. Before using a chainsaw, read and understand it's owner's manual..
  2. Do not operate a chainsaw if you are tired, under the influence of alcohol, if you have taken medication, or are impaired in any way. A chainsaw is a dangerous tool . You need to be rested and alert.
  3. Wear boots, cut protective garments, such as safety chaps and eye, hearing, and head protection.
  4. Grip the saw's handles with both hands. Make sure your thumbs and fingers encircle them. A firm grip will help you maintain control of the saw in the event of a kickback or other unexpected reaction. 
  5. Grip the saw with the right hand on the rear (throttle) handle and the left hand on the front handle --- even if you are left-handed.
  6. Keep the handles dry, clean, and free of oil or fuel mixture.
  7. Cut while standing slightly to the side. You don't want to be standing behind the saw where you could be injured by a kick back if it were to occur.
  8. Carry the chain saw with the chain brake applied, the guide bar and cutting chain to the rear, and the muffler away from your body. When transporting your chainsaw, always use the appropriate guide bar scabbard. If carrying any distance, shut the engine off.
  9. Do not overreach or cut above shoulder height. 
  10. Only operate a saw when you have firm footing. Do not operate a chainsaw in a tree or from a ladder unless you have been specifically trained and are equipped to do so. 
  11. To avoid the risk of kickback, make sure that the area in which you are cutting is free from obstructions. Do not let the nose of the guide bar contact a log, branch or any other obstruction while you are operating the saw. Do not cut near chain link fences, wire fences, or in areas where there is loose or scrap wire.
  12. Prior to falling a tree, make sure you have a clear work area and a planned retreat path.
  13. Be careful in the event the wood closes in and pinches the saw. The 'push' force which is exerted when the top chain is pinched can add unexpectedly to any 'pull' force you may use when attempting to pull the saw free. You may pull the moving chain into yourself.
  14. Use extreme caution with cutting small-size brush and saplings, because slender material may catch the cutting chain.
  15. When cutting a limb or sapling that is under tension, be alert so that you will not be struck by the limb or chainsaw when the tension in the limb is released.
  16. Do not allow other persons to be near your running chainsaw. Keep by-standers and animals out of the work area.
  17. Keep all parts of your body away from the cutting chain when the engine is running.
  18. Do not operate a chainsaw that is damaged, improperly adjusted or not completely assembled. Be sure that the cutting chain stops moving when the throttle control trigger is released. If you are unsure about your saw's mechanical condition, consult a servicing dealer.
  19. Follow the manufacturer's sharpening and maintenance instructions for the chainsaw. When in doubt, see a servicing dealer for advice or repairs.
  20. Use only replacement bars and cutting chains specified by the manufacturer, or the equivalent. Guide bars and cutting chains affect not only performance, but kickback safety as well.
  21. Maintain proper saw chain tension. A loose chain can come off the guide bar and can strike the operator.
  22. All chainsaw service other than the items mentioned in the owner's maintenance instructions should be performed by competent chainsaw service personnel. Improperly performed maintenance may damage the saw and present a hazard to the operator. 

Additional Advice

  1. Saw chain is made to cut only one thing: wood. Do not use saw chain to cut other materials.
  2. Never force dull chain to cut. When it is sharp, saw chain is designed to feed itself into the wood, and needs only light pressure to cut efficiently. Dull chain produces fine wood dust, a sure sign that maintenance is required.
  3. To maximize life of your guide bar and chain, maintain proper chain tension and use high quality lubricant.
  4. Use caution when handling fuel. Move the chainsaw well away from the fueling point before starting the engine. Do not smoke while refueling your saw. Use gasoline powered chainsaws only in well ventilated areas.
  5. Use only reduced kickback saw chain and guide bars unless you have skills and are trained for dealing with kickback.
  6. Some cutting tasks require special training. If you are in doubt, contact a professional.

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