WOODLOTS


Operate Your Chain Saw Safely



The chain saw is one of the most efficient, productive and dangerous portable power tools used in any industry. If you learn to operate it properly and maintain the saw in good working condition, you will avoid injury as well as be more productive.

OSHA requires the following practices when using a chain saw.

Before starting the saw

* Check controls, chain tension and all bolts and handles to ensure they are functioning properly and adjusted according to the manufacturer's instructions.

* Fuel the saw at least 10 feet from sources of ignition.

* Start the saw at least 10 feet from the fueling area, with the chain brake engaged, and with the chain saw on the ground or otherwise firmly supported.

* Check the fuel container for the following requirements:

o Must be metal or plastic

o Must not exceed a 5-gallon capacity

o Must be approved by the Department of Transportation or other nationally recognized testing laboratory.

While running the saw

* Keep hands on the handles and maintain secure footing while operating the chain saw.

* Clear the area of obstacles that might interfere with cutting the tree or using the retreat path.

* Do not cut directly overhead.

* Shut the saw off or release the throttle prior to retreating.

* Shut the saw off or engage the chain brake whenever the saw is carried more than 50 feet, or on hazardous terrain.

More safety tips

Make sure that the chain is always sharp and the lubrication reservoir is full. Never drop-start a chain saw. Do not smoke while fueling, and never try to fuel a running or hot saw. Use a funnel or flexible hose when pouring fuel into the saw.

Clear away dirt, debris, small tree limbs and rocks from the saw's chain path. Look for nails, spikes or other metal in the tree before cutting.

Proper personal protective equipment must be worn when operating the saw. Do not wear loose-fitting clothing.

Be careful that the trunk or tree limbs will not bind against the saw. Watch for branches under tension, as they may spring out when cut.

Gasoline-powered chain saws must be equipped with a protective device that minimizes chain saw kickback. Be cautious of saw kickback; to avoid it, do not saw with the tip. If your saw is equipped with a tip guard, keep it in place.

OSHA requires that a chain saw have the following parts: chain catcher to prevent a broken or dislodged chain from striking the operator; anti-vibration handle system to limit ergonomic stress on the operator's joints; hand guard; muffler to reduce engine noise; chain brake to stop the chain if kickback occurs (if the saw was placed into service after February 9, 1995); throttle that will stop the chain when pressure on the throttle is released; and throttle interlock that prevents the throttle from activating until the interlock is depressed. Chain saws placed into service after February 9, 1995, must also meet the requirements of ANSI B175.1-1991, Safety Requirements for Gasoline Powered Chain Saws.

Information from www.osha.gov.