Tips for Chainsaw Safety, Operation, & Maintenance
Using a chainsaw comes with its own hazards. It is because it has the potential of injuring the user, especially if he/she is unfamiliar of some safety, operation, and maintenance tips.
Aside from wearing the proper personal protective equipment, it is also possible for you to keep yourself safe by applying safe operating procedures. There is no need to be afraid of the chainsaw, though. All you have to do is to master the basics of safely using it.
Fortunately, you will receive more guidance on how to operate the chainsaw without compromising your safety through the tips included in this article.
I. The Importance of Personal Protective Equipment
Chainsaw is the perfect tool, which you can use to cut large branches, fallen trees, and other items. However, you might find it challenging to figure out how to use it for your intended job safely. Probably, the best way to start is to gather all the needed personal protective equipment, including the following:
1, Hard Hat
You need a hard hat, as you can use it to give full protection to your head. Ensure that the hard hat comes in a highly visible color, too, while also meeting the standards in terms of protecting your head.
You also need protection for your eyes, and that’s something that a pair of goggles can provide. By wearing the goggles, your eyes will receive full protection from flying chips and splinters.
3, Hearing Protectors
It is also crucial to note that a chainsaw often produces a lot of noise when it operates. To protect your ears from possible injury caused by the unnecessary, loud noises, it is important to wear hearing protectors.
4, Gloves and Mitts
These items should also form part of your personal protective equipment. Your best bet is a pair of leather gloves, which also features a reinforced ballistic nylon at the back.
You can expect such to provide more than enough grip when you’re operating the saw while also properly absorbing some vibration, thereby protecting your hands. The leather gloves are also helpful in preventing cuts when you are sharpening your chainsaw.
5, Proper Safety Clothing
Ensure that you wear proper clothing that can keep you safe while working on and using the chainsaw. Choose a well-fitting clothing, one that can prevent you from getting entangled with the chainsaw. It would also be best to go for close-fitting clothes, those without cuffs.
In addition, the clothes should be constructed from close-woven fabrics. As for the lower clothing, go for chaps or trousers that also feature sewn-in ballistic nylon pads. You can also wear pants or trousers capable of protecting your belt line while having additional protection than the ones that tend to stop at the upper part of your thigh.
6, Protective Footwear
Of course, your feet are also among the specific parts of your body that require the highest level of protection when you’re using your chainsaw. You need to wear a well-fitted, heavy-duty, and durable safety work boot, which meets the standards in terms of protective footwear.
Avoid slippery shoes. Go for a boot with an anti-slip function. Wear a boot constructed from cut-resistant materials, too, as such can offer utmost protection once it comes in contact with the operating chainsaw.
If you want a footwear, which offers the highest level of cut protection, then go for that constructed from ballistic nylon. In addition, a safety boot, which features a rubber sole designed for snow and wet weather is also the best bet. It should also have either cork or grip soles designed to handle rough terrains.
II. Precautionary Measures
Aside from gathering all the personal protective equipment that you need, it is also necessary for you to familiarize yourself about all the precautionary measures that you can apply when using a chainsaw. These include the following:
Read and understand the instruction manual – The manual, which comes with your saw, can give you an idea about how you can correctly use your chainsaw. You’ll know exactly the steps in mounting the guide bar and chain, mixing fuel, lubricating the chainsaw, and starting it.
Never underestimate the importance of reading the manual as it has most of the information you need regarding the proper use of the chainsaw. By fully understanding the instructions stated in the manual and implementing them, you know that you are safe when using the tool.
Refuel – Do the same precautionary measures you often apply when using other gasoline-powered equipment, like a lawnmower. It would be best to stop the saw’s engine while also avoiding smoking in case you need to refuel it. Avoid spilling gas when the engine is still hot.
If you need to fill the tank, then make it a point to utilize either a gas can or filtering funnel – both of which should feature a versatile hose, too. Avoid starting the chainsaw in the area where you refuel it. Also, apply additional precautionary measures, especially during a hot weather, to prevent fires.
Know how to properly carry the chainsaw – Make sure to shut it off when you need to carry it from one place to another, especially if you need to handle hazardous working conditions, like steep slopes, slippery surfaces, and heavy brush.
A wise tip is to carry the chainsaw in such a way that its guide bar points to the rear. Another tip is to point the guide bar in front, especially if you need to go downhill.
First Aid – Another precautionary measure is to ensure that there is someone around you when working using the chainsaw, even if there is no need for you to hire an assistant. It’s also advisable to gather the address and contact number of the closest emergency unit.
In addition, you should have a first-aid kit with you all the time. Such ensures that you are fully prepared to handle any accident that you’re facing.
III. Other Safety Tips to Take Note of
Prior to using your chainsaw, it is a must to familiarize yourself with the following helpful safety tips. By following them to the letter, you have an assurance that you won’t end up having injuries from the process:
Check all the features and components of the chainsaw – Among the things you have to check prior to using the tool are the controls, bolts, and handles, as well as the chain tension. Ensure that all of them function properly. It is also important to make some adjustments to them based on the manufacturer’s instructions.
Check the sharpness of the chain, too. It should always be sharp. The lubrication reservoir should be full, too.
Know exactly the safest way to start the saw – The best way to start it without the risk of harming yourself is on the ground. You can also look for another form of support, aside from the ground, but make sure that it is firm. It is never a good idea to practice drop start.
In addition, you need to start the tool by a minimum of ten feet away from the fueling area. It is also important to engage the brake of the chain.
Fuel the chainsaw properly – Another thing that you have to be aware of when it comes to operating the chainsaw safely is to learn about the proper way to fuel it. In this case, it is crucial for you to make use of the right and approved containers when it comes to transporting fuel into the tool.
Another tip is to dispense fuel by a minimum of ten feet away from any ignition source. This is important especially if you need to conduct construction activities. Avoid smoking when fueling, too, so you can prevent possible injuries.
You can also keep yourself safe by ensuring that you use a flexible hose or funnel whenever you need to pour the fuel into the tool. Avoid the fueling activity when the chainsaw is still hot or in operation.
Remove all forms of obstruction – Ensure that the chain path of the saw is free of any debris, rock, small tree limb, and dirt. Check if there are any nails, metal, or spikes in the area prior to cutting, too.
Also, exercise caution so there will be no tree limbs or trunk that will bind against the tool. If you are cutting a tree, check whether there are branches under tension, as well.
Turn off the chainsaw when necessary – The tool should be shut off if you need to carry it on uneven or rough terrains. Keep the chain brake engaged, as well. To further guarantee your safety, ensure that your hands are away from the handles. There should also be a secure footing when you are using the tool.
Wear the right personal protective equipment – Personal protective equipment has already been mentioned in a section of this article, and you have to make sure that you invest on them if you want to stay safe. PPE often include protection for the head, face, eye, leg, foot, hand, and your hearing.
Avoid loose-fitting clothes. Go for those that fit you correctly, as loose clothes might end up getting in the way when you are supposed to have an easier time operating the saw.
Take care about kickback – Equip chainsaws powered by gasoline with a protective device, which you can use in minimizing the risk of chainsaw kickback. To prevent this problem, avoid sawing using the tip. Also, the tip guard should stay in place.
IV. Proper Chainsaw Maintenance
Aside from learning how to use the chainsaw properly and safely, it is also crucial for you to familiarize yourself with the different ways to maintain its excellent condition. With the following chainsaw maintenance tips, you have a guarantee that your tool will serve you for a long time.
Learn about preventive maintenance – Such involves investing a small portion of your money and time to taking care of your chainsaw so you can avoid spending more in case it gets damaged in the future. Make it a point to service the tool before it begins to act up.
In addition, be aware of certain warning signs that indicate whether or not the saw is already on its way to getting damaged. Some of the signs that you have to watch out for are difficulties in starting it, loss of power when used at full throttle, and lack of sharpness.
Avoid running the tool’s chain into dirt – Among the specific elements that might damage your chainsaw are dirt and sand. In this case, you need to exercise extreme caution to prevent the chain from running into the ground.
If you need to cut a tiny sapling from the base, then dig at the bottom of the tree to cut the trunk at or below ground level without having to come in contact with the dirt. If you need to cut tree limbs, there should also be proper support off the ground.
Conduct a regular check on the chain tension – Note that a loose chain has the tendency of damaging the tool’s sprocket or bar. Furthermore, it is a safety risk. Each time you use the saw, make sure that you check its chain tension prior to putting it back to store into its case.
It is also important to tighten its chain based on the manual’s specifications. If you need to use your tool for a huge project, which requires you to perform numerous cuts, make sure to shut it off regularly, so you can check its chain as well as its other vital components.
Lubricate the chain – Chainsaws often come with a tank designed for chain oil, and it’s a big help in lubricating the chain while circling the bar. Prior to using the saw, check the level of oil in the tank. For extended use, shut off the tool once in a while, so you can check whether the oil level is still enough.
V. Final Words
While a chainsaw is one of the most complicated tools to use for certain cutting tasks, it is also considered as the most important. It can perform a number of functions but you need to gain awareness on how you can use it properly as well as how you can maintain its excellent condition for a long time.