Don’t lose a limb! Chainsaw safety tips you need to know
Whether you’re trimming a tree or cutting firewood, don’t become that person who ends up in the ER with a chainsaw sticking out of your neck.
Before you fire up that chainsaw, follow these tips to know how to use it safely.
Wear protective gear
When operating a chainsaw, always cover yourself completely. You can buy a helmet that comes equipped with a face screen and earmuffs to cover all of your cranial bases for about $35 to $55. Make sure to also wear gloves, a long-sleeve shirt, steel-toed, cut-resistant boots, and special chaps to protect your legs.
Gas it up
When fueling your chainsaw with a mixture of oil and gasoline — your owner’s manual should explain the proper combination to use — be sure to do it in an area where you don’t plan to use it.
Once the saw gets hot, it can release a spark that could ignite any spilled fuel. Never use in an enclosed space, as chainsaws produce odorless but toxic fumes. Use a funnel to pour fuel to avoid any leaks.
Know your saw
Before you start chopping, take a few slow practice strokes in the air. Gauge how the saw feels, and don’t start cutting anything solid until you’re comfortable.
Depending on which side of the chainsaw you’re using, it may react differently. If you use the top bar, the saw tends to push you away from the object you’re cutting, whereas the bottom bar pulls you toward it.
Chainsaws come equipped with a variety of features intended to keep you safe, so know what you have and when to use them. Some saws, for example, have chain breaks, which stop the chain if the saw starts to kick back toward the operator.
Clear the cutting area
Ever build a treehouse or hang a tire swing on one of your tree limbs? Look for any nails, chains or leftover metals within the bark before you start trimming. Remove debris, rocks or any other materials that could fall into the path of the chainsaw before cutting. Also, check the ground — you don’t want to trip over terrain or slip on a wet floor with a chainsaw in your hands.
Avoid the kickback zone
If you have to fight the chainsaw to operate it, nothing good comes of it. Prevent a potential injury by never letting the chainsaw get the upper hand — don’t cut with the tip of the chainsaw, as that’s the most likely area to kickback if used.