Thursday, January 5, 2012

Chainsaw Safety

As you begin to implement your backyard woods plan you may want to remove some trees to give a favorite tree room to grow, or cut some firewood or fence posts, or remove a tree with a hazardous defect. A chain saw is the tool used most often to cut down trees. Cutting down a tree is one of the most difficult and dangerous activities you can do in your woods. From the moment you take a chain saw out of storage to the time you put it back, you can be hurt by it or by whatever you are cutting. To work safely in your woods you need knowledge, skill, and safe working habits.

What do I need to know?
Learn how to use a chain saw before you take it into your woods. Books, Web sites, and videos can provide you the information needed to cut down a tree up to 8 inches in diameter that has very little lean, remove the branches, and cut the trunk into pieces. To become skilled enough to safely drop a tree in a desired direction, however, requires hands-on chainsaw training.
Skill and safe working habits are developed by training and practice. One way to obtain training is to learn from someone experienced with a chain saw. There are also hands-on chain saw training courses available. The local Cooperative Extension Service or local chainsaw dealer are a couple places to find training opportunities.

Never work alone in your woods with a chain saw. In the event of an accident or emergency, you have to have someone who can help or bring help. You can quickly get into trouble when working alone in the woods with a chain saw.

When you are in the woods where someone is operating a chain saw observe the safety zone rule: Never approach within 200 feet of a person using a chain saw until he or she sees you, stops work, and signals you forward. A person using a chain saw tends to be unable to hear anyone approaching or calling to them because of the high noise level and their hearing protection. They tend to be concentrating on their work and not looking for other people. This rule also applies to two people operating chain saws in your woods. If you ignore this rule you are in considerable danger of being hit by a falling tree or flying debris.

Knowing your limitations and that something is beyond your capabilities is essential. If you are not sure you can do something, don’t do it. Hire a professional to do it for you.

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