Working with chainsaws can be dangerous business. But if you follow a few basic recommendations, you’ll be able to get rid of any insecurity and concentrate fully on the task ahead.
There are a couple of things you need to thoroughly before you start working with a chainsaw. If you are working alone, make sure to keep these rules in mind:
– Tell someone when you’ll be working
– Park your vehicle so that you make a quick exit
– Always carry a mobile phone
1. Chainsaw safety equipment
Ensure you are properly dressed and equipped for the job. All chainsaws come with some mandatory safety features (see fact box). Most Husqvarna chainsaws are also fitted with TrioBrakeTM, a system that allows you to stop the chain at any time with your right hand.
The most common chainsaw injury is laceration. This means “an injury that breaks the skin” and is sometimes expanded to mean a torn and ragged cut – precisely what one would expect from a chain pulling on tissue.
Wearing the right gear can prevent many injuries. For clothing, international standards regulate what works and what doesn’t. All Husqvarna saw protective clothing are tested and approved in accordance with relevant European and International standards where required. But wherever you are, make sure to wear the following:
- Helmet with protection
- Protective glasses
- Forestry jacket with proper upper body coverage
- Protective trousers
- Protective boots
2. Plan for “on site-safety”
When you arrive at the working site, it’s time to plan for the felling. First of all, ensure that nobody is within a distance of at least twice the tree height from the tree you intend to fell. Study the tree to see if it has been damaged by decay or cracks. Is the tree leaning? In which direction should the tree be felled, bearing in mind your future work?
Safety equipment when felling trees
3. Felling direction
Most trees have a natural direction of fall. This is affected by the tree’s lean, the shape of the branches and crown snow-load or snow-covered branches. If you are unsure of the tree lean, move away a little and check with a plumb line.
To some extent, you can force a tree to fall against its natural falling direction, but this requires knowledge, experience and the right felling support tools. Trees with weak timber, such as dead or decayed trees, should always be felled in the easiest direction.
4. Saw handling
Finally, handling the saw. There are a few techniques that will make your work safer as well as easier.
- The thumb grip Wrap thumbs and fingers completely around the handles and hold your left-hand thumb under the front handle to reduce the force of a kickback.
- Close contact Don’t be afraid of the saw. Hold it close to your body to achieve balance and accuracy.
- Position The optimal working position is with your left foot in front of your right and with your knees – not your back – bent.
- Chain off The chain must never be rotating when you move to another spot.
- Safety distance Make sure no one is within 3 metres when you’re working with a chainsaw.
Chainsaw safety features – and what they mean
- The kickback guard and chain brake ensure the chain stops if the saw isn’t handled correctly or in case of a kickback
- The throttle lock is designed so that the saw only functions when you keep pressing a certain button
- The chain catcher stops the chain from flying off in case of chain break or derail
- The right-hand guard protects your right hand in case of chain break or derail
- The easily accessible stop control allows you to stop the chain instantly.
Two quick safety tips
- Take a course! Nobody is an experienced chainsaw user from day one and as a beginner, practicing on your own may cause you to learn the wrong technique.
- Have your equipment checked! Your chainsaw is equipped with safety features. Make sure these are inspected on a regular basis.