A Guide to Safety with Chainsaws
Published by the Department of Labour
First edition, September 2007
2nd edition revised April 2010
Table of Contents
- About this Guideline
- Basic Rights and Responsibilities under the Health and Safety in Employment Act 1992
- Work Area Safety
- Know Your Capabilities
- Chainsaw Selection
- Know Your Chainsaw
- Personal Safety Equipment
- Checking Your Chainsaw
- Starting the Chainsaw
- Cutting with the chainsaw
- Avoiding Kickback
- Refuelling the Chainsaw
- Care of Your Chain
- Avoiding Health Problems
- General Chainsaw Maintenance
The chainsaw is an indispensable labour saving aid used by thousands of New Zealand farmers, firewood gatherers and other non-vocational users. It makes light work of felling and cutting up trees, but a chainsaw deserves to be treated with respect. Carelessly used, inadequately maintained or incorrectly equipped, a chainsaw can be a lethal weapon.
The Department of Labour is concerned at the number of accidents involving chainsaws in the workplace, and has produced this guideline for anyone who is an occasional chainsaw user. It is not intended for professional forestry workers as their work is already governed by detailed safety codes.
In this guideline you will find information on chainsaw safety devices, protective clothing and equipment you should wear, and advice on safe working methods. It also gives tips on maintaining your chainsaw and other ways you can protect yourself and other people.
If you have just bought a chainsaw, you should read the manufacturer's instruction manual carefully and familiarise yourself with your chainsaw's operation. If you have not used a chainsaw before, practice the cutting techniques on a stump or log before you attempt more serious work.
You can also view our publication, A Guide to Safety in Tree Felling and Crosscutting online. This will tell you more about felling and cutting techniques and is also designed for non-professional chainsaw users. We suggest you keep the two booklets together with your instruction manual and refer to them from time to time to refresh your memory.
If you use your chainsaw sensibly, follow correct techniques and maintain your saw to the manufacturer's instructions, it will provide you with safe and trouble-free service.
If you're a chainsaw novice, it's an excellent idea to get training from a qualified person. This way you learn by hands-on experience and avoid developing unsafe habits right from the start. Your chainsaw dealer may be able to provide this instruction or put you in contact with a qualified instructor.