Chainsaw Safety – Stupid Mistakes Lead to Grave Injuries

Tip 1) Read your manual. This article in no way replaces your safety instructions from your chainsaw manufacturer. If this article says anything that conflicts with your manual, go by the manual.

Tip 2) Beware of kickback. Most chainsaw injuries are to the head and shoulder, and are caused by kickback. Kickback occurs when the tip of your saw touches something solid, and the saw jumps skyward and toward your head with alarming force and speed. This WILL happen to you, and then you will learn to avoid it at all costs. Don’t cut in tight spaces where a slight error will result in a kickback. Change your chain immediately when it becomes dull, dull chains are more likely to kickback.

Tip 3) Always quit when you start to be fatigued. Overwork and fatigue lead to risky behavior and mistakes.

Tip 4) Cut branches with the base of your blade, not the tip.

Tip 5) Watch the wind. A tree may be leaning in the direction you want it to fall, but if a gentle breeze is blowing in the opposite direction, the tree may go sideways, or even completely backward. Don’t drop trees on a breezy day.

Tip 6) Survey your escape routes. If the tree falls the wrong way, you may need to move quickly out of the way, so check your escape route ahead of time. Clear any debris from the ground that may cause you to trip. If you need to run, set the saw down first.

Tip 7) Warn your helpers when your tree is about to fall, and ask them to do the same for you.

Tip 8) Equipment matters: Wear chaps, the small price you pay for chaps is considerably less than an emergency room visit. Also, knot your bootlaces so they don’t trip you. Don’t wear flimsy shoes or sandals, if your foot slips, you may lose control of the chainsaw. Wear goggles or safety glasses. If sawdust gets in your eye, you may mishandle the saw in any number of unforeseen ways.

Tip 9) Don’t over-reach. There is never a good reason to over-reach. You lose control of the saw when your arms are over-extended. Survey the situation, and find a different way to do it without over-reaching.

Tip 10) Don’t ever cut above shoulder height. Take the time to get a ladder.

Tip 11) Check the chain brake frequently. Set the brake when you walk with the motor running. It only takes a moment. Get in the habit.

Tip 12) Watch out for widow-makers, dead branches high in the tree. They often break loose just as the tree starts to fall.

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