How to Use a Chainsaw Properly: 3 Risks and Rules to Be Aware of

If you own and operate a chainsaw, you’ve got to remain aware of the risks.

According to the CDC, around 36,000 people are left injured in chainsaw-related incidents every year in the United States. 

Most of these injuries can be avoided if proper precautions are taken to limit the risks. But, what risks are there?

To help you out, here are 3 risks to avoid and rules to follow, when you’re learning how to use a chainsaw.

Always Wear Personal Protective Equipment

Before you even touch your chainsaw for the first time, you need to suit up. Your PPE — personal protective equipment — is absolutely essential for chainsaw safety.

This not only protects you from the risks of the saw but will also help to protect you from flying debris. It doesn’t matter if the job you’re working on is big or small, you should always wear your PPE.

Get strong, steel-capped boots to wear to help balance you while you work. Protect your eyes and ears with safety glasses and ear defenders, and a hard hat to protect your head.

You can expand this further with eye visors and gloves for your hands, as well as wear appropriate clothing to protect your body.

Find the right kind of PPE for your chainsaw operation from our chainsaw safety gear articles.

Hold Your Chainsaw Properly to Avoid Injuries

If you’re wearing the right PPE for the job, you’ll be ready to operate your saw, but you need to hold it the right way to avoid injuring yourself.

Never try and start your saw by holding it in the air. You should always start it on the ground where you can’t drop it or lose control. Consult your operation manual for the exact method for starting your particular saw.

With it started, you need to follow some basic tips to hold it correctly. Make sure you have a stable footing for you to pick up your saw without losing your step or slipping.

From there, keep your body at a sensible angle and hold the saw with your one hand around the handle.

As you work, keep your saw at or below waist height. You don’t want to risk any potential damage to your upper body, where injuries can be more severe.

Clear Your Area of Potential Risks

Operating your chainsaw is all about limiting the potential risk, so you should be sure to take a good look around your work area before you get started. Clearing the risk around you can prevent injuries later.

Clear any existing debris. Even a pile of leaves can cause issues — you don’t want to slip while you’re operating a saw! 

You also want to make sure you have a clear path to escape if something goes wrong with falling debris. Keep an escape route clear of any other fallen debris like branches or from your own equipment. 

If you’re nervous using a chainsaw for the first time, don’t worry. The Department of Labor’s OSHA division has a quick rundown on how you can safely operate and use your chainsaw. 

Learn How to Use a Chainsaw Correctly

A chainsaw isn’t a tool you should consider using lightly.

It’s a useful and powerful tool, but chainsaw operation carries a serious risk of injury if you don’t learn to use it the right way. Our advice on learning how to use a chainsaw correctly should get you started, but these tips are only the beginning.

Take your knowledge further and learn some additional tips and tricks on how to operate a chainsaw from our other helpful articles.

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