Chain Saw Safety


Following any emergency, additional injuries occur as people begin cleaning up and repairing their property. Using a chain saw can be especially dangerous.

Follow safety precautions and take the time needed to stay safe during any clean-up procedures. However, if you have never used a chain saw, now is not a good time to start; find someone who can help.

Fueling the saw

  • Do not smoke while fueling the chain saw!
  • Use a funnel or flexible hose
  • Never attempt to fuel a hot or running chain saw

Personal protection

  • Be sure you have, and wear, hand, foot, leg, eye, face, hearing and head protective equipment any time you use a chain saw

Before starting the saw:

  • Check the controls, chain tension, and bolts and handles for proper adjustment
  • Make sure the chain is sharp and the lubrication reservoir is full
  • Start the chain on the ground
  • Start the saw at least ten feet from the fueling area
  • Be sure the chain-brake is on during starting

Plan the cut:

  • Watch for tree limbs and trunks under tension that could spring back with deadly force if cut
  • Use extreme care to bring the object to the ground
  • Plan where the object will fall; ensure the fall area is free of hazards
  • Avoid felling an object into another one
  • Ensure you have a clear retreat path

Using the saw:

  • Clear dirt, debris, limbs and rocks from the path of the saw before cutting
  • Check the tree for nails, spikes or other metal before cutting
  • Be sure your footing is secure before and during cutting
  • Keep your hands on the saw handles while cutting
  • Cut so the trunk or tree limbs will not bind against the saw.
  • Beware of branches under tension that may spring out when cut.
  • Avoid saw kick-back by sawing with the blade, not the tip of the saw.
  • Never saw directly overhead

Information courtesy of OSHA and the Maine Department of Labor Safety Works Program

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