As the air gets brisk and the leaves begin to change so do our outdoor chores. Now that its tree trimming and grooming season, it’s important to be aware of the dangers of working with a chain saw or pole pruner and to know the safety tips a techniques recommended by the professionals.
As many have read over the weekend, famed Australian golfer, Greg Norman accidentally injured himself while trimming his sea grape tree at his Florida home. Lucky to still have his left hand, Norman tweeted “Working with a chainsaw ALWAYS be respectful of the unexpected. I was one lucky man today. Damaged, but not down & out. Still have left hand”. This is a very important message, when working with a chainsaw, it’s important to always respect the fact that something unexpected can happen at any time. Being prepared with safety tips and precautions are the best weapons we have to combat the unexpected. The Occupational Safety & Health Administration has a set of safe operating procedures and safety tips that will help keep you prepared and ready to safely combat the unexpected.
Before Starting a Chainsaw
- Always check your controls, chain tension and all bolts and handles to make sure they are all functioning properly and that they are all adjusted according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
- Check to make sure your chain is always sharp and the lubrication reservoir is full.
- Always start your saw on the ground or on another firm support. Drop starting IS NEVER SAFE.
- Always start your saw at least 10 feet away from the fueling area, with the chain’s brake engaged.
Fueling a Chainsaw
- Only use approved containers for transporting fuel to your saw.
- Always dispense fuel at least 10 feet away from any sources of ignition when performing construction activities. NO SMOKING DURING FUELING.
- Always use a funnel or a flexible hose when pouring fuel into your saw.
- Never attempt to fuel a running or HOT saw.
- Clear away dirt, debris, small tree limbs and rocks from your saw’s chain path. Look for nails, spikes or other metal in the tree before cutting.
- Shut off your saw or engage its chain brake when carrying your saw on rough or uneven terrain.
- Keep your hands on your saw’s handles, and maintain secure footing while operating your saw.
- Proper personal protective equip must always be worn when operating your saw. This includes hand, foot, leg, eye, face, hearing and head protection.
- DO NOT WEAR LOOSE-FITTING CLOTHING!
- Be careful and observant that the trunk or tree limbs will not bind against your saw.
- Watch for branches under tension, they may spring out when cut.
- Gasoline-powered chainsaws must be equipped with a protective device that minimizes chainsaw kick-back.
- Be cautions of saw kick-back. To avoid kick-back, do not saw with the tip. If equipped, keep tip guard in place.
Using a chainsaw can be an everyday task for some people and a bothersome chore for others. Following these safe operating procedures as well as following these safety tips are very important to maintaining awareness of possibly dangerous situations, as well as being ready to handle the unexpected.