- Jun 19, 2018 -
On the way home from work one day, I noticed a tree across the road. Not knowing the reason for the tree blocking my way home, I slowed down to the speed limit to take notice. There were several people running their chainsaws cutting up the tree. Then I realized, the wind didn't do the damage. The damage was done by a group of chainsaw bandits.
Whenever I see chainsaws run, I have a concern for the safety of the operator. The chainsaw is one of the most versatile tools a person can own. This machine or tool is also one of the most dangerous tools known to mankind.
I am often asked to give talks on pruning and when the subject of cutting a large branch with a chainsaw, I make the suggestion of hiring a professional. Realizing that chainsaw usage is only for the person who respects the dangers of the chainsaw.
Annually the average number of people injured by chainsaws is about 36,000. Please don't be one of these people since the average number of stitches is 110. Unfortunately chains saws are known to cut flesh easier that they cut wood.
My first safety tip for using a chainsaw is to make sure that when you purchase your chainsaw also invest in safety equipment. Eye protection is a must. With wood chips flying every which way you don't know where the chips are going to land. Remember it is all fun and games until someone gets their eye damaged.
As far as the noise of small engines, chainsaws are one of the noisiest machines. A typical chainsaw running noise level is 119 decibels. OSHA has set the permissible sound level at 90 for an eight-hour day. This means that if you don't want hearing loss, you need to wear ear protection.
If you enjoy other parts of your body there is other safety gear you might want to consider. A brain is a good thing to have and a helmet or hard hat will help protect your noggin. Gloves will help with the chainsaw vibration and protect your hands.
Remember you are cutting tree limbs not the limbs on your body. To protect your legs wear chainsaw chaps. These chaps are made with a fiber that will get tangled up in the saw and cause the saw to bind up and stop.
The two main areas that are used in cutting with the chainsaw are the top and bottom of the bar. Cutting downward you use the bottom of the bar which will cause the saw to pull away from you. If you cut from the bottom of the branch using the top of the bar the saw will push toward you.
Avoid the cutting using the tip of the bar. This area is called the kickback zone. Chainsaws can kickback quickly and cause much harm. Most modern chainsaws are equipped with a chain break designed to prevent kickbacks and bodily injury.
Chainsaws are dangerous and need to be handled with great precaution. Please be safe out there. If you hit your thumb often with a hammer, a chainsaw might not be a tool that you will want to try.