Thursday, January 19, 2012

Chainsaw Safety - Operating the Saw

Follow these safety procedures:
1. Always engage the chain brake at these times:
• When you start the saw.
• When you take one hand off the saw to do something.
• When you take more than two steps with the saw running.

2. Start the saw safely by using one of the following two techniques:
• Place your left hand on the front handle. Hold the back of the saw tightly between your legs. Pull the start cord (after engaging the choke, if necessary) using a fast but short stroke.
• Place the saw on the ground. Place the toe of your boot through the back handle to hold the saw down. Hold the front handle with your left hand. Pull the start cord using a fast but short stroke.

3. Focus on the forces of the saw. Anytime you use a chain saw you need to be aware of the reactive forces created. When you cut with the bottom of the bar, the rotating, cutting chain can pull you into the work. When you cut with the top of the bar, it can push you away from the work. Your body stance and grip are determined by which part of the bar you are using to start your cut so you are physically prepared for the reactive forces that may occur.

4. You can experience a kickback almost every time you use a chain saw. Most are mild and easy to control. A severe kickback can cause one of the worst accidents you can experience working with a chain saw. Most kickback accidents—in which the chain saw is suddenly thrown violently back towards the operator—occur while removing limbs from a tree that is on the ground and while cutting the trunk (bucking). Kickback occurs when the chain is suddenly forced to stop. The most common way this happens is when the upper tip of the bar touches a tree, log, or branch. Another way the chain can be stopped suddenly is when a log or a limb pinches the top of the bar and chain while cutting from below with the top of the bar.

Kickback can be prevented by:
• Making sure the upper tip of the bar touches solid wood
• If you have to cut a log from below, do it in two stages: first cutting from above, then making another cut from below to meet the first cleanly
• Holding the chain saw with both hands
• Gripping the handle by putting your thumb around it
• Keeping your elbow locked
• Never cutting above shoulder height
• Keeping the saw close to your body and not reaching out with it
• Using a saw equipped with a chain brake
• Starting every cut under full throttle
• Keeping the chain sharp.

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