Peter Judge, MEMA PIO
November 4, 2011
Chainsaw Safety Tips
As homeowners begin the clean-up and recovery from the October 29-30 Nor’easter, it is important to understand what you are doing if you are going to safely use a chainsaw. Operating a chain saw is inherently hazardous. As downed trees and debris are being removed, potential injuries can be minimized by using proper personal protective equipment and safe operating procedures.
Before Starting a Chain Saw
- Read the instruction manual that came with your saw. Your manual describes how to mount the guide and chain, how to mix the fuel and lubricate the saw, and how to start it.
- Check controls, chain tension, and all bolts and handles to ensure that they are functioning properly and that they are adjusted according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
- Make sure that the chain is always sharp and the lubrication reservoir is full.
- Start the saw on the ground or on another firm support. Drop starting is never allowed.
- Start the saw at least 10 feet from the fueling area, with the chain’s brake engaged.
Fueling a Chain Saw
- Use approved containers for transporting fuel to the saw.
- Dispense fuel at least 10 feet away from any sources of ignition when performing construction activities. No smoking during fueling.
- Use a funnel or a flexible hose when pouring fuel into the saw.
- Never attempt to fuel a running or HOT saw.
Chain Saw Safety
- Clear away dirt, debris, small tree limbs and rocks from the saw’s chain path. Look for nails, spikes or other metal in the tree before cutting.
- Shut off the saw or engage its chain brake when carrying the saw on rough or uneven terrain.
- Keep your hands on the saw’s handles, and maintain secure footing while operating the saw.
- Proper personal protective equipment must be worn when operating the saw, which includes hand, foot, leg, eye, face, hearing and head protection.
- Do not wear loose-fitting clothing.
- Be careful that the trunk or tree limbs will not bind against the saw.
- Watch for branches under tension, they may spring out when cut.
- Gasoline-powered chain saws must be equipped with a protective device that minimizes chain saw kickback.
- Be cautious of saw kick-back. To avoid kick-back, do not saw with the tip. If equipped, keep tip guard in place.
The source of much of this important information is the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA).
The Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency is the state agency responsible for coordinating federal, state, local, voluntary and private resources during emergencies and disasters in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. MEMA provides leadership to: develop plans for effective response to all hazards, disasters or threats; train emergency personnel to protect the public; provide information to the citizenry; and assist individuals, families, businesses and communities to mitigate against, prepare for, and respond to and recover from emergencies, both natural and man made. For additional information about MEMA and Flooding Issues, click here. Also, follow MEMA updates on Facebook and Twitter.