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15 Tips for Safer Chainsaw Use

Chainsaws are handy tools for both the professional and the homeowner. The speed and ease in which these powerhouse tools tackle tree trunks are unmatched. 

With any tool, proper use includes following its safety guidelines. Avoid accidents and injuries by wearing personal protective equipment (PPE), abiding by the tool’s manufacturer instructions, and adhering to safe operating recommendations from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

Before Use:

1. Check that controls, chain tensions, bolts, and handle are operational and adjusted according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

2. If gas-powered, check that oil tank if full. If electric, use with fully charged battery.

3. Use chain saw with a sharp chain.

4. Start the saw on the ground or on another firm surface. Drop starting is never allowed.

5. Start gas-powered saws at least 10’ from where fueling takes place, only start with the chain’s brake engaged.

Safe Use:

6. Clear dirt, debris, small tree limbs, and rocks out of the saw chain’s path. 

7. Do not wear loose-fitting clothes.

8. Protect your hands, feet, legs, eyes, face, and head with proper PPE.

9. Chain saws are extremely loud. Wear ear plugs or muffs.

10. Look for and avoid metal (i.e. nails or spikes) in cuts.

11. When carrying saw, shut it off or engage its brake.

12. Maintain good balance when operating. Shoes with rugged soles help.

13. Keep hands on the saw’s handles.

14. Watch for branches under tension, as they could spring out when cut.

15. To avoid kickback, do not saw with the tip. Keep tip guard in place. (Remember, gas-powered chainsaws must be equipped with a protective device that minimizes dangerous kickback.)

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