It’s obvious the kind of damage a chainsaw can do to a person if it’s handled carelessly. In 1991 the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission estimated that there were more than 44,000 people who needed hospital treatment due to injuries from chainsaws.
When operating this type of power tool, the odds of being injured are lowered if the user is alert, well-rested, and exercising sound judgment. Consider the type of work that has to be done and select the appropriate saw.
Basic Chainsaw Protection Gear
Many injuries occur as a result of kickback, the sudden and uncontrollable upward motion of the saw when the upper tip of the chain bar meets resistance. To protect the face, head and neck a chainsaw user can buy a wire mesh visor attached to a hardhat. The visor never fogs and stops wood chips and twigs from hitting the eyes. Earmuffs are also essential since chainsaws make a tremendous amount of noise. Many of them are louder than 100 decibels. To prevent hearing loss, use foam ear plugs in concert with the earmuffs.
For the legs, safety pants with cut-resistant ballistic nylon or Kevlar sewn into them provide good protection. If a saw comes into contact with a person’s leg, the outer layer of the pants will be cut through but the underlying fibers are drawn out and wrapped around the saw’s drive sprocket, stopping the chain.
The pants should cover the area from the groin to about two inches above the ankles. The final items of safety equipment should be woodcutter’s gloves and boots with steel toe caps and non slip soles.
Maintaining a Chainsaw
A saw that’s in good condition will be easier and safer to use. Learn to inspect the guidebar and chain, the hand guards, the anti-vibration mounts, and all other safety features. A chainsaw will need sharp teeth, proper lubrication and a well tuned engine to work properly. Direct contact with metal, rocks or dirt will dull the chain.
While the chainsaw is running never jam the machine into a cut. Forcing it into a groove will wear down the motor. To make sure the saw cuts smoothly, check the chain tension. If it’s too loose, it will come off; if too tight, the chain will overheat. Wait until the saw has cooled down before adjusting the tension. The air and fuel filters will have to be checked after periods of heavy use and cleaned periodically.
Starting the Engine and Cutting Wood
The safest way to start this tool is on the ground. Look for an area that’s flat and clear of debris. A user should get down on the left knee with the toe of the right boot firmly on the base plate of the trigger guard. Grip the handle of the saw and pull the starter rope. Starting a chainsaw in mid-air by thrusting the machine down with one hand and pulling the cord with the other would be opening the door to serious accidents.
Felling a tree takes great skill. Chainsaw users need to consider various factors that will influence how, and even if it should be felled. There’s wind speed, presence of overhead power lines, branch distribution, escape route and which way the tree is leaning. A potentially lethal hazard is when a tree comes into contact with another and doesn’t fall completely. Novices should never attempt to fell a tree alone and mustn’t operate a chainsaw when physically or mentally fatigued. Leave the difficult jobs in the hands of experienced loggers