Chainsaws are very useful, but that said, they are also really dangerous if not operated properly. Today we want to talk about how to safely use a chainsaw so you don’t cause injury to yourself or others around you.
Chainsaw Safety Tips
We want to cover some crucial chainsaw safety tips. If you follow all of these tips on how to use a chainsaw safely, you are one step closer to remaining intact.
Get the Right Size Chainsaw
This has more to do with purchasing the right chainsaw rather than using it safely, however, to use a chainsaw safely, you need to have the right size. Simply put, is the chainsaw too large for you to operate safely? If you feel as though you cannot easily support its weight and size with nothing more than your hands and arms, you are probably in trouble.
Chainsaws, if they slip out of your hands, or you drop them, can quickly cause injury. So, you need to be confident that you can hold onto it with ease for a prolonged period of time.
At the same time, when it comes to the size of the chainsaw, using one with a 2-foot arm to cut apart branches that are half a foot in diameter is total overkill. On the flipside, using a 1-foot arm to cut down a tree with a trunk much larger than that, is also not a good idea.
A lot of it comes down to having the right size chainsaw, both for the job at hand, and for your own abilities. What you need to remember is that the longer the arm and chain is, or in other words, the larger the chainsaw, the harder it is going to be to control and safely operate. Smaller is not always worse.
Feet Should be Shoulder-Width Apart and 2 Hands on the Chainsaw
Another big chainsaw safety tip is that you always want to have a good stance when using one. This means that your feet should be firmly planted on the ground, with a shoulder width stance. This will allow you to have good balance when using your chainsaw.
Both hands are just as important too. To safely operate a chainsaw, it takes 2 hands. Sure, you can probably keep a chainsaw running with just one hand, as long as you keep pressing the fuel or power trigger, but you also need the other hand, the one on top of the chainsaw holding the safety and guide rail. You never want to let go of that safety rail while you have the saw running because it can cause kickback and it will cause you to lose control of the chainsaw. So, 2 hands on the chainsaw and 2 feet firmly planted on the ground.
Get the Saw Moving First
One mistake which many people make when using a chainsaw, at least beginners, is to touch the chain to the wood before the chain is moving. This should be avoided at all costs. You need to give power to the saw and get the chain moving first, before you touch it to the wood.
If you have the chain touching the wood before the chain is moving, you can run into some serious problems, mainly that your chainsaw is going to bounce, twitch, and move all over the place, possibly and likely causing injury.
However, if you get the chain moving first, the result, when the moving chain hits the wood, will be like a hot knife moving through butter. On that same note, it is never a good idea to stop the chainsaw in the middle of a cut. Whenever possible, whenever the chain is in contact with wood, it should be moving.
Sawing on The Ground and Nothing Over Shoulder Height
Something else that you may see people doing is getting up on a ladder to saw branches off a tree, which is a big mistake. What happens if the ladder happens to fall with you on it, with a chainsaw in full motion? What happens if your foot slips and you go tumbling down? What happens is serious injury or even death.
Chainsaws are meant to be used with both feet planted firmly on the ground, not on an unstable and elevated surface like a ladder. On that same note, never try to cut anything above shoulder height. The higher you have to lift a chainsaw, the more dangerous the operation becomes. Imagine dropping a moving chainsaw on your face or having a branch come crashing down on you! There are other tools for cutting branches off a tree higher up than ground level.
The Right Clothing
Something that is also very important to keep in mind when using a chainsaw, is that the proper clothing and gear can make all of the difference. For one, never wear loose clothing. Anything that can get caught in the moving chain is a tremendous safety hazard. So, loose sleeves, loose pant legs, very long hair, or anything else of the sort should be avoided for your safety.
Proper chainsaw attire includes chaps (special pants designed for protection), steel toe boots to protect your feet, special woodworking or lumberjack gloves, and the proper helmet complete with a faceguard. Although maybe not 100% essential, a good pair of ear plugs to protect your hearing probably won’t hurt.
Remember to always use a chainsaw on the ground and to not cut things over shoulder height; always keep both feet on the ground and both hands on the saw; get the right size of saw you feel comfortable with; and wear the proper attire.