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Chainsaw Safety: How to Use a Chainsaw Safely

Last Updated on June 13, 2020 by MakeThingsReal

Chainsaws are powerful tools that is known for versatility. However, using a chainsaw safely should be learned, especially for beginners.

Operating a Chainsaw with Safety Precaution

A chainsaw is a great tool for cutting large branches and fallen trees, but deciding where to begin and how to start the job safely could be a problem. Here we are going to show you strategies for cutting up trees and removing branches that will ensure your safety while doing the task.

  • Avoid cutting with the Chainsaw’s “Kickback Zone”

The most common way to cut with the chainsaw is from the bottom; however when you cut the lower side of the branch, it may require you to cut with the top of the chain bar. This could be a little daunting at first because the chainsaw propels towards you, but as long as you are well secured and have followed all other preventive measures, it should be safe.

The Kickback zone is the spot that should be carefully avoided. It is located at the top half of the chain bar’s tip. Having the kickback zone touch anything while operating, the chainsaw will trigger a “kicking” notion back at you. This is what the chain brakes are designed for, to prevent kickbacks.

Kickback injuries caused by chainsaws are usually to the thigh and arms. To prevent this from happening, always follow simple precautions. First, wrap your left thumb over the handle while operating. This encircling grasp gives you control of the saw in case of a kickback.

Second, while moving around with the saw running, no matter how close the distance is, take off your right hand from the rear handle and bring the chainsaw with your left hand on the front handle with the saw at your side.

  • Always wear safety equipment

Chainsaw SafetyWear special chainsaw leggings to protect your thighs, a helmet coupled with ear protection and face screen to protect eye, ear and head. It is smart to protect your face, eye and head with only one gear. Additionally, wear long-sleeved shirt and cut-resistant, safety boots to protect against unavoidable scratches. You can buy these safety equipment at hard wares and chainsaw vendors.

  • Calibrate chain tension

Always check the chain tension before starting and recheck every hour or so of operation and adjust if needed. Brand new chains stretch and should be checked every 20 minutes when used. Loose chains can come off the bar and can cause serious injuries.
Calibrate by loosening the nuts that lock up the bar, and then raise the bar while you tighten the adjusting screw. Do this until the chain is secured against the bar. The chainsaw tension is correct when you can’t lift the drive links free of the bar nose but still a little loose that allows you to drag the chain around the bar easily with a gloved hand. When tightening the bar nuts, make sure to lift the nose of chainsaw.

  • Come up with a Strategy on cutting down a tree

When cutting up trees, plan a strategy before even starting the chainsaw. Visualize on how you will cut the branches and where each branch will fall. See to it that the fall direction is clear. Cutting branches can be unpredictable, in some cases where the branches are under pressure when being removed, the tree trunk will drop or roll.

To be safe, think and be prepared for the worst-case scenario. Remove any obstacles in the path and never do the job alone. In case you get injured or trapped, you will have someone to help you.

Begin by cutting branches on the lower part of the trunk and work your way to the top of the tree. Working from the left side of the tree should be the safest and most effective way to use a chainsaw. This way you can support the saw on the trunk and cut off the branches with a rotating motion.

When cutting the trunk, cut one-third of the trunk diameter downwards. Then cut upwards from underneath to completely cut the trunk. Be careful not to make the chain bar hit the ground as you finish cutting, keep it parallel and the bottom of saw should rest flat on the ground. In case the chain bar gets stuck, use a sturdy branch to lift the trunk until the cut is open enough to take off the chainsaw.

Additional Chainsaw Safety Precautions

          • Tell everyone to never come near the operator. With the loud noise of the chainsaw and the focus needed, the operator may be unaware that someone is approaching from behind.
          • Bring your mobile phone with you for urgent situations.
          • Never cut higher than your shoulder.
          • Stand on the uphill side when cutting so the trees will not roll towards you.
          • Chain brake should be utilized when cutting.
          • Always start cutting on full throttle.
          • Never operate a chainsaw when under the influence of alcohol or drugs. When tired, rest!

If you need help with finding the best chainsaw for you, check out our review article for the best chainsaws of 2019!