It is important to remember that these safety features do not replace proper training, safe operating practices and common sense.
Some basic chainsaw safety features include a hand guard and chain brake, bumper spikes and a stop switch. When shopping for a chainsaw, look for these modern safety features.
The front hand guard is a bar in front of the top handle designed to stop a slipping hand from coming in contact with the chain. The chain brake is designed to stop a moving chain in a fraction of a second if kickback occurs, reducing the chances of severe injury. It may also function as the front hand guard.
The throttle trigger interlock prevents the accidental opening of the throttle. The throttle trigger is locked in the idling position when the lockout is not engaged by the proper hand grip on the handle.
A stop switch should be located so that it can be activated easily by your right thumb with-out losing your grip on the rear handle of the saw.
The rear hand guard on the rear handle of the chainsaw is designed to protect the hand from a broken or jumping chain.
A chain catcher is designed to catch a bro-ken or jumping chain.
An adjustable oil pump adjusts oil to the chain based on the blade length and type of wood being cut.
Vibration dampeners (rubber bushings between the handle and saw body or on the engine mountings) help reduce the operator’s exposure to vibration.
The muffler is designed to decrease the noise level and direct hot exhaust gases away from the operator. This may be combined with the spark arrester. The spark arrester keeps sparks from being ejected by the exhaust. The sparks occur when carbon deposits in the cylinder break loose and are ignited by the exhaust gases. Spark arresters are required in many areas.
A bumper spike is used to rest the chain saw on wood as you are cutting to prevent kick-back, especially when performing a buck cut.
An anti-kickback chain reduces the forces on the chain that cause kickback.
A tip guard at the end of the chainsaw bar helps to prevent kickback.
The best saw is the one you can comfortably handle and is appropriate for the type of work you do most often:
Light-weight is good for occasional use: cutting limbs, firewood and small trees.
Mid-weight is better for more frequent use.
Heavy-weight is for Professional use only.
Using a Chainsaw:
Start the Saw Carefully.
When starting the chainsaw, hold it firmly in place.
Remove all loose debris and make sure the guide bar is not touching anything.
Make sure the chain brake is engaged.
Stretch and Strengthen Your Body – Working with a chainsaw can put a strain on back muscles. Stretching and strengthening back muscles reduce strain.
Wear the Right Clothes. Choose clothing that is close-fitting but not constricting.
Wear steel-toe boots and a hard hat to protect you from falling branches.
Use gloves to prevent cuts and burns and safety glasses to protect your eyes.
If you are going to be using a chainsaw for extended lengths of time, it is recommended that you also purchase a good pair of chainsaw safety chaps.
Have the Right Tools for Repairs and Maintenance.
Keep a wrench, screwdriver, sharpening file and a small sharpening gauge handy. You may also want to carry a wedge and a mall, sledgehammer or hatchet to help fell the tree in the right direction.
If you are tired or under the influence of drugs or alcohol (including prescription medication), don’t use your chainsaw.
Be Familiar with the Saw and All of Its Controls. Be especially familiar with the cut-off switch. Know how to sharpen and lubricate the saw in the field and carry the correct gas-oil mixture for the saw engine. Read the user’s manual if one is available; it is designed to help you learn about your saw and how to use it safely.
Learn from Others. The first time you use your saw try to pair up with an experienced chainsaw operator. Learn from experienced saw operators whenever possible.
Never Use a Chainsaw by Yourself. Make sure you are aware of the locations of all other people nearby, especially when felling a tree.
Never Let a Child Operate a Chainsaw. Never use a chainsaw in close proximity to a child. Keep all observers away from the work area when using the saw, especially when felling trees.
Stay Low to the Ground. Avoid using a chainsaw in a situation where it will be held higher than your waist during operation. It is much easier to get hurt when the chainsaw is held above your waist than when held below it.
Avoid Cutting with the Tip of the Saw. Kick-back occurs when the tip of the saw bar contacts wood (or any other solid object) and is pushed away from the object when the chain hits at a certain angle. If your body gets in the way, the saw can cut into you. Kickback is the leading cause of chainsaw injury. Another way to minimize the danger is to keep your left elbow locked straight out when cutting. That way if the saw does kick back, your left arm will not bend and the saw will follow an arc that should miss your body.
Click here for a professional online chainsaw safety course.