“Every year, I coordinate federal chainsaw safety training for the Department of Forestry, Wildlife and Fisheries, and teach this material as well. Chainsaws are specialty tools that, if mishandled or used incorrectly, can seriously injure the user or
someone nearby,” says the expert. “These protocols will be crucial to ensuring that homeowners and others stay safe.”
Recognize that not only is the chainsaw operator at risk, others in the vicinity can be injured by limbs or debris thrown by trees as they fall. Everyone in the area must wear proper clothing and safety gear.
Everyone in the area must wear an approved hard hat. Even small debris striking you in the head can cause a Traumatic Brain Injury. Head strikes may also momentarily disorient you and cause you to be injured by the saw or other objects.
Wear proper footwear, which includes sturdy shoes or boots with non-slip soles. Steel-toe safety shoes or boots are recommended.
Eye protection is vital. You are at risk of chips from the saw as well as twigs and other objects. Consider a mesh face shield for your hard hat because it will not fog up like goggles and is comfortable for those who wear glasses.
Hearing protection, whether ear plugs or muffs, prevents noise-induced hearing loss. A chainsaw is loud enough to cause hearing damage in just a few minutes, even for bystanders. Hearing protection also reduces the saw noise to a level
safe for your ears, and you can actually better hear unusual sounds and warnings if your inner ear is not overwhelmed.
Kevlar chaps prevent cuts and scrapes from limbs, thorns, etc., and they are designed to protect you from incidental contact with the moving saw chain. They cannot provide absolute protection from a saw under full throttle, but many cuts
to the legs are from a coasting chain after a cut is completed or situations such as stumbling or falling.
Make sure the saw is in good working order and properly sharpened. Dull saws slow you down and if you get frustrated you might make mistakes. Have a spare chain and tools with you so you can quickly make repairs and safely return to work.
Whether clearing debris after a storm, or just getting your property into shape for summer, common sense and proper equipment will help ensure chainsaw user safety.