Safety, knowing hazards can prevent chainsaw accidents

  • Published
  • By Master Sgt. Daryl Gurunian
  • 82nd Training Wing Safety Office
With fall already upon us, it is again time to start preparing for the colder temperatures of winter.

Many of us enjoy a warm fire in our fireplace or a bonfire at our campsite. Gathering or cutting firewood can be made much easier with the use of a chainsaw as it can save you a lot of time and energy.

But chainsaws are also dangerous. Many chainsaw accidents happen because users don't understand the associated hazards, or don't carefully follow the manufacturer's instructions.

One of the biggest hazards with chainsaws is kickback. This often occurs when the nose or tip of the guide bar comes into contact with an object such as a rock, log or branch. The guide bar abruptly kicks up and back toward the operator - causing the person to lose control of the saw.

Here are a few steps to take before using a chainsaw:
· Carefully read the manufacturer's instructions.
· Become familiar with the safety features of the chainsaw and ensure it is in proper working condition.
· Be sure you are in good mental and physical condition. Operating while you are tired or sick may alter your judgment or reflexes.
· Check your clothing. Don't operate a chainsaw while wearing loose fitting clothing, jewelry, a scarf, cuffed pants or anything else that could become entangled in the saw. Tie back long hair.
· Always wear proper protective equipment. This should include heavy-duty gloves with a good grip, sturdy shoes or boots with non-slip soles, head, eye and hearing protection and leg protection such as chainsaw chaps.

It's also important to check the work area to ensure:
· There are no people or animals in the immediate area.
· The ground is free of obstacles such as rocks, stumps, holes, and wet or otherwise slippery brush.
· You can get a firm footing on the ground.