A Guide to Safety with Chainsaws
Know Your Capabilities
Many serious accidents occur when chainsaw users tackle jobs that are beyond their capabilities.
Some felling and cutting operations are extremely dangerous and should only be undertaken by professionals or people with proper experience and training.
- Working on wind-thrown or wind-affected trees;
- Felling large shelterbelt trees;
- Felling trees with a heavy lean;
- Felling trees that have stem rot or are a species prone to splitting
- Felling trees on steep slopes or unstable ground;
- Working on or felling trees that overhang power lines, buildings or public access ways.
Always get someone who is experienced to carry out work that is beyond your capabilities.
Some Do's and Don'ts
Here are some basic do's and don'ts that apply no matter how experienced you are:
- Do not operate a chainsaw above shoulder height or above ground level, such as in a tree or off a ladder, unless qualified and experienced to do so.
- Always have someone within calling distance - never work alone while using a chainsaw.
- Never operate your chainsaw under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
- Never operate your chainsaw when you are fatigued. If you get tired when using your chainsaw, have a rest - you need to stay alert and be in control.
- Your chainsaw is designed to cut wood - never cut any other material or use your chainsaw guide bar for levering or digging.
- Always match the size of your chainsaw and bar with the material being cut. Don't try to use a small chainsaw and bar to fell a large tree.
Fig.3: Felling trees with a heavy lean or under tension is a job best left to the experts.
Types of cuts
Different types of cuts include:
- Felling cut - Cuts placed into the stem of tree or branch to sever it and fall in the desired direction
- Horizontal bore cut - With the chainsaw placed on its side and using the tip of a chainsaw to cut into a tree or log.
- Trimming - the cutting/removal of branches from the stem of a tree