Toolbox Topic: Chainsaw Safety
In today’s episode we are talking about chainsaw safety. We will cover 9 safety tips to make sure you all go home with your fingers and toes!
A chainsaw is portable mechanical tool commonly used for cutting and pruning trees. They can be powered by gas, electricity, or compressed air.
History of Chainsaws
The First Chainsaws
In the 1830s the chainsaw was first invented by a German orthopedic surgeon for medical purposes. However, it was not until the 20th century that it became widely used in forestry and timber operations, gaining the nickname the “Tree Felling Machine.”
The first electric chainsaw was invented in 1926 by Andreas Stihl, a mechanical engineer. It was so heavy that two people had to operate it. In 1929, Stihl created the first portable gasoline-powered chainsaw. Previously, workers had to move logs to stationary saws. You may have already guessed this, but Andreas Stihl founded a manufacturing company named after himself. Stihl is now a global manufacturer of chainsaws that are widely used today.
Improvements Over the Decades
Over the years, chainsaws have undergone significant updates and improvements. In the 1950s, the first chainsaw with an automatic oiling system was developed, which reduced wear and tear on the chain. Anti-vibration systems were invented in the 1960s, helping reduce fatigue and strain on the operator’s arms and hands. In the 1970s, new materials such as aluminum and magnesium made chainsaws lighter and more powerful. In addition, key safety features were introduced such as chain brakes and safety switches. .
Today, chainsaws are widely used for various purposes, from forestry and land management to construction and landscaping. They have become an essential tool for professionals and homeowners alike. This modern marvel makes pruning, landscaping, and clearing land faster and more efficient than ever.
Chainsaw Safety Statistics
According to OSHA chainsaws operators have a high risk of injury. In 2018, there were 36 chainsaw-related deaths in the United States. In addition, there were over 27,000 injuries that required time off work. For anyone paying attention, these statistics highlight the importance of safety when using a chainsaw.
Chainsaw Safety Tips
Safety Tip #1 PPE
Personal protective equipment (PPE): Always wear appropriate PPE, including eye and ear protection, hard hat, heavy-duty gloves, and chaps or pants to protect against cuts and abrasions.
Safety Tip#2: Training
Before using a chainsaw, receive proper training from a qualified person to learn safe handling and operating techniques, standard procedures, and risk associated with chainsaws.
Safety Tip #3 Maintenance
Chainsaw maintenance and inspection: Regularly inspect and maintain your chainsaw to ensure it is in good working order. This includes sharpening the chain, adjusting the tension, and checking the fuel and oil levels.
Safety Tip #4: Inspections
Inspect your work area: Before starting your chainsaw, inspect the work area for potential hazards such as loose branches or debris that could cause kickback. Clear any obstacles and make sure no one is in the immediate area. Also look around and eliminate any tripping hazards.
Safety Tip #5: Follow Safety Guidelines
Always follow the manufacturer’s safety guidelines and best practices. This includes using the chainsaw only for its intended purpose and never operating it above shoulder height.
Safety Tip #6: Select the Right Chainsaw
Choose the appropriate chainsaw for the job. A smaller saw is suitable for light pruning, while a larger saw is needed for felling trees or cutting large logs.
Safety Tip #7: Assess the Fall Zones
Before cutting a tree, survey the area around the tree and identify the fall zone. Clear the fall zone. Use caution tape to mark the area if necessary.
Safety Tip #8: Cutting Techniques
Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and keep both hands on the chainsaw’s handles. Use a smooth, back-and-forth motion to make the cut, and avoid twisting or jerking the saw.
Safety Tip #9: Be Aware of Kickback
Kickback can occur when the chainsaw’s chain at the tip of the guide bar hits an object or when the chain is pinched in the cut. Always keep the saw’s tip away from your body and use a chainsaw with a properly tensioned and sharpened chain to avoid kickback. If kickback does occur, release the throttle immediately and wait for the saw to stop before moving it.
Remember, chainsaws are powerful tools that can cause serious injury if not used correctly. You should always prioritize safety when operating a chainsaw, especially when it comes to fall zone and kickback risks. Following these tips can save you from accidents, injuries, or even death.