There are many techniques and common-sense ideas when it comes to chainsaw safety - we've gathered a number of them for your reference below. Two of the best tricks to keep yourself safe are also two of the easiest and don't cost a penny. The first is to read your owner's manual that came with your chainsaw before making any cuts. Follow all the directions outlined for your particular saw and be sure that you understand how to use and benefit from the supplied safety features. Bob's Power Center can answer your questions and will help you understand how to use your chainsaw most safely.
The second tip that can help keep you safe is if it looks dangerous, don't make the cut. If you are unsure of any part of a cut, whether it's your footing, your retreat path, the safe operation of your saw, your experience level, or possible results of the cut, don't attempt the cut. Cutting in unsure situations can lead to loss of control of the chainsaw, which greatly increases the chances of an injury.
Here are other techniques and tips for chainsaw safety:
- Starting. To safely start your chainsaw, place the saw on the ground for firm and stable support.
Hold the saw down by placing your right foot on the rear handle and grip the front handle with your
left hand. Slowly pull out the starter cord until you engage the starter pawls and then start the saw
with sharp, quick pulls of the cord.
Be ready to push in the choke as soon as the engine first fires. The saw will probably start with the next
pull. When the engines starts, give it full-throttle and keep it running. Once it's warmed up, you can
return the saw to idle by releasing the throttle.
- Stopping. On most chainsaws, you stop the saw by killing the engine. This is usually accomplished
by moving the ignition system to "Stop". Please check your owner's manual for specific instructions
for your chainsaw.
- Carrying. When you have to move from one area to another while cutting with your chainsaw,
practice safe carrying techniques to avoid injuries. You should always carry the saw with the guide
bar and cutting chain facing the rear and the muffler should be pointed away from your body to avoid
burns. Always shut down your saw before carrying it any distance and use the chain brake when moving
even a couple of feet. Be careful of your footing when carrying your saw and it's a good idea to use
the correct scabbard for your saw's guide bar.
- Retreat. Before you make any cuts, you need to plan an escape route should there be a problem
during or after the cut. In the event a log rolls toward you, you must have a safe and fast means of
retreat so plan a path that is clear and free of obstructions. Always shut down your saw before using
your retreat to avoid the possibility of an accident.
- Footing. Secure and stable footing is the foundation of safe chainsaw use - your footing is what
keeps you balanced and able to react to any emergency situations. Find footing that is as level as
possible and stand close enough to the cut to avoid having to reach to make the cut. Watch out for
twigs, branches, and undergrowth that can entangle your feet and trip you.
- Fueling. Just like any other equipment that burns gas, fueling and re-fueling do pose a
possibility of explosion if proper care is not used. Do not fuel your saw near any open flame or near
possible sources of ignition. Never smoke while fueling and use gasoline-powered chainsaws only in
well-ventilated areas. When re-fueling your saw, be careful near the muffler which could ignite
spilled fuel. Start your saw at least 10 feet from your fueling area.
- Cutting. Use caution when cutting saplings and slender brush as the branches can be caught by
the cutting chain and whipped toward you or pull you off balance. Be alert for springback from
cutting limbs or trees under tension (springpoles) to make sure you are not struck by the limb or
your saw when the tension on the tree is released.
- Cut Height. Never use your chainsaw to attempt a cut that is over your head or above shoulder
height. It can be very hard to control the saw when cutting in awkward positions. Never try to
perform a cut from a tree or a ladder unless you have been specially trained in the specific
techniques to do so safely. There is a much greater risk of losing your balance from the saw's
cutting forces or movement of the cutting material when you're above the ground.
- Grip. Make sure that you have a solid and secure grip on the saw at all times during use -
starting, cutting, and carrying. You should hold the saw with your thumbs and all fingers of each
hand encircling the handles and grips while operating the saw. It's important to keep the chainsaws
handles clean and dry and free of oil, gas, and sawdust to prevent slippage that could lead to loss
of control of the saw.
©1999 J. Ramsey
(Bob's Power Center offers these guidelines as a customer service and makes no warranty or guarantee
should you choose to attempt to service your chainsaw after reading these guidelines. Operating power
equipment can be dangerous and users must accept the risks associated with using such. General guidelines
as offered on this site cannot remove the possibility of injury.)