It’s getting to be time to clean up that winter debris. And what could be more handy-manly (or womanly) than firing up the chainsaw and making quick work of it? It’s lumberjack time.
The chainsaw’s a powerful beast, and it’s also the cause of a lot of nasty accidents. Did you know the average chain saw injury calls for 110 stitches? So whether you already fancy yourself handy with one, or you’ve been a little wary of picking one up, a review of safe operation is definitely worthwhile.
Practice proper use, proper planning and proper maintenance, and you’ll have earned your plaid shirt.
Start by getting the gear. Wear a safety helmet or hardhat to protect yourself from falling debris. Wear eye or face protection, gloves and steel-toe boots. Never wear baggy clothing that might get grabbed by the saw. Chain saw chaps are a great investment; they cover your legs to protect them against accidental contact.
If you’re just starting, get some instruction from an experienced user. Better yet, take a course. Learn how to achieve a good balance, bending your knees rather than your waist. Practice holding the saw correctly and balancing the weight. Don’t put yourself in a position where you’re reaching too far, or where kickback will throw you off-balance. Protect yourself from kickback by keeping the tip of the saw bar away from other objects and the ground. When you need to move debris, put the brake on, and put the saw on the ground; don’t try and do it one-handed.
If you’re tired or not feeling well, tackle a less-dangerous job, and leave the cutting for another day.
Keep children well away from the work area, and always be extra-cautious when you’re working with someone else in the vicinity.
Next time, we’ll look at planning a safe cut.