Thursday, January 12, 2012

Chainsaw Safety - Choosing the right saw

Your local chain saw dealer should be able to advise you on the chain saw that will meet your needs. Before you select a chain saw—as a minimum—consider horsepower, bar length, chain type, and safety features.

Horsepower—Use a saw with a power head rated at 3.8 cubic inches or less.
Bar length—Use the shortest bar possible to accomplish your tasks, to reduce the hazards involved. Finding a bar length that is suited for all your woods work means you can avoid adjusting your thinking and physical movements for different bar lengths, which should help you avoid mishaps. You should be able to perform all your tasks with a bar length between 16 and 18 inches.
Chain types—learn how to choose the right chains for your saw and how to sharpen and maintain them. This knowledge will improve your productivity and help you avoid wear and tear on your body and the saw. Some chain styles may reduce cutting time, which in turn may reduce your fatigue and result in fewer accidents. A dull chain saw will not cut straight, if it cuts at all.

Safety features—Chain saw safety features include these three:
• Chain brake—activated with a flip of the wrist to prevent the chain from moving.
• Throttle safety latch—mounted on the top of the throttle handle, it must be depressed by your thumb before the throttle can be engaged.
• Chain with guard links—designed to reduce the incidence and severity of kickback.

What personal protective gear do I need?
You need to protect your head, hearing, eyes, face, hands, legs, and feet.
A hardhat outfitted with earmuffs and a screen type full-face shield is the best protection for your head, hearing, eyes, and face. Not only does it protect you from saw injuries and hearing loss, but also from getting particles in your eyes. You can use a hardhat, earplugs, and eye goggles, but a hardhat provides the added face protection and all the safety features in one piece of equipment.

You need to wear gloves or mittens when you operate a chain saw. You may want to consider additional protection by wearing gloves or mittens constructed with chain saw protection for the left hand if you’re right handed or for the right hand if you’re left handed.

Leg protection is absolutely necessary. Leg injuries account for nearly 40 percent of all chain saw injuries. Chaps, leggings, or protective pants are options. If you choose chaps, be sure to purchase a wrap-around style and a length that will protect the ankle. Pants provide greater comfort and avoid the problem of twigs catching behind the chaps.

Leg protection options are made with different types of fibers. Purchasing those with washable ballistic nylon fibers makes it easier to keep them clean, which is necessary for the fibers to do their job. Long-term protection depends on the types of fibers used. Oil soaked fibers will not explode and stall a rotating chain, which is how the protection occurs.
Chain saw protective boots or at least an above-the-ankle leather work boot is a must to protect your feet.

What other equipment do I need?
Assemble these other necessary tools and supplies: wedges, ax, large hatchet or maul, properly mixed fuel, bar oil, bar wrench, chain file with protective handle, small screwdriver with magnetic head, minor maintenance tools, and a first aid kit.

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