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How Many Safety Features Does a Chainsaw Have?

One of the most often used power tools, both in and out of the workplace, is the chainsaw. If you don’t utilize them appropriately, they could also be among the most deadly. There are numerous risks associated with using a chainsaw, ranging from head injuries and severed limbs to being crushed by a falling tree. You can still be safe and complete your work if you prepare ahead and take the necessary safety measures.

Chainsaw Safety: Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

Chainsaw-related workplace accidents can be avoided or at least made less severe with the use of proper personal protective equipment (PPE). Before employees begin working, employers must make sure that PPE is in good working order. Employers are required to provide PPE and ensure that employees utilize it properly, including:

Head Protection – When working in a place where there is the possibility of falling objects, you should always wear a protective head gear. For tree fellers, that means putting on a hard hat as soon as they get out of the vehicle. A helmet with side protection and a chin strap would be helpful for chainsaw operators because they frequently get hit on the side and top of the head. Keep in mind that hard hats can wear out. Before you put it on, check your hat. If it has dents, holes, or discolorations, it should be replaced. Never use a damaged or worn out hard hat. Replace it as soon as possible when damaged or worn. Hard hats should be replaced at least every three to five years or as directed by the manufacturer.

Eye Protection – The face and eyes are easy targets for chainsaw-thrown debris. A face guard with a mesh screen can shield the face, but it won’t shield the eyes from harm. Sunglasses and eyeglasses are not enough. Regular eyewear’s lenses can be broken by flying objects. Choose eye wear that offers UV protection and resists fogging.

Ear/Hearing Protection – Chainsaw operators need hearing protection. Hearing protection needs to be worn continuously to be effective. Decibels are used to measure noise (dB); about 60 dB is the level of a conversation, 70 dB for a vacuum, 90 dB for a lawnmower, and 110 dB for a chainsaw. There is a noise reduction rating for all hearing protection (NRR).

Leg Protection – OSHA mandates the use of chainsaw chaps or pants by chainsaw operators. Specialized chaps and pants are made up of layers of tightly packed plastic fibers. These sturdy fibers do not break when the chaps or pants get caught in the chainsaw. Instead, they are dragged up into the chain and clog the sprockets of the rotating wheel. This immediately puts a stop to the chainsaw. When wearing chaps, keep them snug and fasten all the buckles. If your chaps or pants are cut, replace them immediately. The plastic fiber layers will shift after even a very minor cut, rendering them useless.

Footwear – Boots with a composite or steel toe and a non-slip sole are the best footwear option. However, tree climbers may prefer lighter shoes. Before using new boots for work, make sure to break them in.

Gloves – Although they are not required PPE, gloves are a good idea to wear whenever using a chainsaw. Gloves can cushion the saw’s vibration and guard against minor wounds. Your gloves can also help you grip your saw, provided they are made for gripping and they fit correctly.

Gloves – Although they are not required PPE, gloves are a good idea to wear whenever using a chainsaw. Gloves can cushion the saw’s vibration and guard against minor wounds. Your gloves can also help you grip your saw, provided they are made for gripping and they fit correctly.

PPE should be utilized wherever practicable in conjunction with engineering and administrative controls. Every day, properly worn PPE saves lives. Unexpected dangers when using a chainsaw are common. You’ll be protected by your PPE from unexpected threats that you can’t avoid.

What Safety Measures Are Necessary When Using a Chainsaw?

There are many safety precautions you may take to keep yourself safe throughout operations, from your attire to the way you stand when operating your saw. A lot of chainsaw operations necessitate working from heights, either from a work platform or a simple suspension system. If you are more than 4 feet off the ground, you should always wear fall protection.

If you or your saw falls, even from a few feet, you could hurt yourself or someone else. Tool lanyards and harnesses are a big part of fall protection. Make sure you are familiar with the tools you need to use and when. Check your fall protection equipment frequently for fraying or other issues that could lead to failure.

When using tool lanyards while you are in the air, watch that your tools don’t fall. When operating at a height, always attach a tool lanyard to your saw. Your lanyard will prevent your chainsaw from striking the ground or anyone standing underneath you if you drop it while it is in use.

As you would with any other fall protection system, make sure you inspect it. Using the right PPE is essential, whether you are checking your saw before a shift or pruning limbs from a tree three floors up.

Is a Chainsaw Powerful Enough To Cut Through Cloth and Bone?

Yes, according to statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 36,000 chainsaw injuries happen each year. Despite the rarity of fatalities, these mishaps shouldn’t be taken lightly because they frequently result in hospitalization or amputation.

Just think about chainsaw’s intended use. Trees are very durable. If you’ve ever tried to break a stick with your bare hands that is more than a few centimeters thick, it is very difficult – if not, impossible. Wood is so resilient, so even a tiny chainsaw is a potent piece of machinery.

A chainsaw is unstoppable against flesh; it could likely cut through it indefinitely without tiring. Even though bones are slightly more durable than wood, they are still rigid, so a chainsaw should have little trouble cutting through them. When compared to cutting wood, it won’t be as smooth, and the blade will wear out more quickly.

It should come as no surprise that chainsaws can cut bones as that is what they were originally made for. The first chainsaws were employed in surgery to cut out bones. These saws can also be used on wood as well.

Know and Operate Only Within Your Skill Level

When chainsaw operators attempt actions that are outside the scope of their experience or training, accidents may result. Operations with a higher risk may include:

Chainsaw Safety Features

Safety Features

There are many safety features on modern chainsaws that reduce the chance of harm. The operator must not use the saw if these functions are not working properly and should send it in for repairs. The following are those safety features and how they can help the operator.

Chain Brake – The chain brake will stop the chain from rotating around the bar as soon as it’s engaged. Chain brakes are activated by pushing the handguard forward. The chainsaw must have its chain brakes engaged before beginning operations. If the operator is taking more than two steps with the saw, the chain brakes must also be engaged. However, if you are going more than two steps, you might want to simply stop the saw and resume when you get there.

Chain Catcher – Made of metal or plastic, the chain catcher is on the bottom of the saw close to where the chain enters the saw motor housing. A chain that has broken or disconnected from the guide bar can be caught and stopped by a chain catcher. Before using the saw, be sure that this piece is completely intact and not damaged or worn out.

Spark Arrestor – This is a component of the exhaust system that aids in preventing fires from starting when sparks escape the saw. This rectangular mesh screen, behind the muffler cover, can become blocked by debris like dirt, sawdust, and carbon buildup. This keeps exhaust from venting. If the spark arrestor is obstructed, the engine won’t start; it will have to be cleaned with carburetor cleaner fluid or replaced. Before removing the muffler to clean the spark arrestor, make sure it has cooled.

Vibration Reduction System – The front and rear handles of the chainsaw are connected to the engine and guide bar by this universal part. The structure reduces vibration from the saw and helps to absorb stress. This will reduce the amount of strain and exhaustion placed on the user’s hands, arms, and joints, which might cause long-term injury.

Trigger and Throttle Interlock – The trigger and throttle interlock helps guard against the throttle button being activated before the interlock has been pushed by the operator. This stops a brush or a stick from accidentally turning on the throttle before the operator is prepared.

Right-Hand Guard – The operator’s hand is shielded from being struck by a broken or disengaged chain by this plastic protection, which also serves as the bottom of the rear handle.

Muffler – The muffler, like all gas engines, muffles noise and directs emissions away from the operator. Touching the chainsaw muffler might result in serious burns since the temperature can reach over 900°F.

Centrifugal Clutch – The chain sprocket and engine drive shaft are connected via a centrifugal clutch. The clutch disengages and the chain stops rotating when the engine is off. The clutch reengages the sprocket and driveshaft when the throttle is pushed, causing the chain to start spinning.

Bumper Spikes – These metal spikes, often known as felling dogs, are situated where the guide bar connects to the power head. The purpose of these metal spikes is to hold the wood and lessen any rotating kickback or reactive push-pull forces. To enhance their efficiency, bumper spikes should be in direct contact with the tree or log while cutting.

Before Using the Chainsaw

Any seasoned worker should know to check their equipment before use. Let’s go over the components of a chainsaw and some things to watch out for while inspecting one. So, before starting any project with a chainsaw:

Remember that heavier chainsaws might cause arm and shoulder fatigue because of their greater weight. The average weight of a chainsaw is between 10 and 15 pounds, however some of the heaviest models can weigh more than 20 pounds.

What Causes a Low Kickback in a Chainsaw Bar?

When using a chainsaw, kickback can occur in two situations. The first happens when an object is struck by the moving chain at the guide bar’s nose or tip. The second circumstance is when the timber closes in and catches the saw chain mid-cut. Both of these scenarios result in the guide bar of the chainsaw launching (or kicking) up and back, which might lead to the user losing control of the saw and injuring themselves or others.

The likelihood of chainsaw kickback can be increased by the following elements acting alone or in combination:

Additionally, the chance of kickback increases with the size of the guide bar’s nose.

What Is Kickback?

The quick jolt of the chainsaw in an upward motion is a kickback. It is one of the most frequent causes of chainsaw accidents and has the potential to be quite dangerous. Once a chainsaw kicks back, there is nothing you can do to stop it – you can only know how to prepare for it.

Typically, snagging the chain results in a kickback. The engine is still producing energy, and this needs to be used in some way. Newtonian physics states that the resulting action is equal and opposite, which results in the kickback. The kickback will be more severe the more jammed the chainsaw becomes.

There are many more factors that can raise the likelihood of kickback. They are primarily caused by how the chainsaw is set up or maintained. Overuse can cause the chain to become dull, which can increase the chance of kickback. The efficiency of the chainsaw will also be impacted, and the risk of kickback will rise if the chain is not tight enough.

Ten Tips to Reduce the Risk of Kickback

  1. Read the operating instructions before using a new chainsaw.
  2. Stay vigilant at all times. It’s not a good idea to operate a chainsaw while you’re fatigued or distracted.
  3. Take extra care when pruning tree branches. If the bar’s nose touches logs, stumps, hidden branches, or the ends of logs while limbing, a kickback may occur.
  4. Use the bar’s underside to prepare a tree for cutting. Never saw above shoulder level while pruning trees and cutting down obstructions. Doing so will assist in lowering the chance of kickback.
  5. Before using your saw, make sure the chain brake is working properly.
  6. Pay close attention to the placement of the chainsaw bar’s nose.
  7. Select chainsaw chains with a low kickback. Choose the chainsaw that is most appropriate for your needs and has the lowest kickback potential when you go to buy one.
  8. Use bars with a narrow nose to maximize kickback safety.
  9. Put on the appropriate gear and clothing to safeguard areas of your body that are frequently injured. Don’t wear anything that is overly tight or loose.
  10. Make sure your thumbs and fingers are completely encircled by the chainsaw handles before you begin to cut.

How to Prepare for Kickback

There won’t be much you can do to stop the chainsaw when it decides to bite back. Always be ready for this possibility, especially by wearing the appropriate PPE. As we said previously, you should wear a helmet, preferably one with a visor, as the chainsaw is likely to backfire upwards.

Before you begin working, it is also advised that you get the appropriate jacket, pants, gloves, and boots. If the chainsaw decides to bite back, this might mean the difference between life and death.

How Should a Tree Be Felled?

What Equipment Do I Need?

While cutting down a tree isn’t particularly difficult, it does involve planning, concentration, and caution. You should learn the proper methods for removing an unwanted tree from your property before you start hacking at it with a chainsaw. It’s preferable to leave the work to a professional if you’ve never used a chainsaw, don’t have all the necessary safety gear, or are dealing with a particularly huge tree.

While an ax can be used safely to cut down a tiny tree or sapling, chainsaws are ideal for most trees. You should thoroughly understand how to use your chainsaw before operating it. Make sure to perform a short check to ensure that it is in good working order. You’ll also need a few felling wedges if you’re felling a tree with a trunk diameter of at least 18 inches. These wooden wedges are used to stop the tree from grabbing onto your chainsaw during the last cut or from kicking back towards you instead.

What To Do Before Felling a Tree

The best course of action is to first remove the tree’s low-hanging branches. If low-hanging branches are left in place, felling will be more difficult. In addition, when a tree hits the ground, a large, low branch may cause the tree to roll.

Check the yard’s size and sight-in the tree’s height to make sure there is adequate room for the entire tree to fall to the ground safely. Learn how to aim the tree’s fall course. It’s more probable that the tree will fall on you than away from you if you aim your chainsaw straight through the trunk till it exits the other side.

The first step in proper tree removal is a directional notch. Face the tree such that your escape routes are on your left and the area where it will fall is on your right. Slice into the tree trunk at about a 70-degree angle on the side of the tree facing the direction that the tree will fall. When the chainsaw is about one-third of the way into the tree’s trunk, keep cutting at that angle. This cut’s bottom shouldn’t protrude further than two feet from the ground. At the base of your initial cut, make another horizontal cut into the tree. You will have a notch cut into the trunk where the two cuts converge.

The felling cut is the last cut; if you’re not attentive, this is when things frequently go wrong. Shift to the side of the tree that is opposite your notch. To insert your felling wedges, make a shallow cut in the tree at the same height as your notch. Keep your chainsaw in the cut; keep it going with the chain brake locked. Then, put the felling wedges in place behind your chainsaw blade using a mallet or hammer.

Continue making horizontal cuts through the tree. Pull out your chainsaw, engage the brake, and retreat down your escape route until you are at least 15 feet away from the falling tree as soon as you feel the tree begin to go forward, or roughly when you have removed all but 10% of the tree’s diameter. Keep your eyes on the tree the entire time it is falling; do not turn your back on it.

Keep in Mind

Even for the most experienced operators, working with chainsaws and felling trees may be risky. Take for example the experience of Oscar and Leo:

Oscar, Leo, and their supervisor were removing some trees from a corner of a building site. Over the course of two and a half hours, Oscar, Leo, and their supervisor had felled 30 to 40 trees. On the final tree for the day, the supervisor left and observed the two employees from his truck. After cutting a wedge and then a back cut, Oscar, the chainsaw operator, walked to the side of the tree, where he stood alongside Leo.

The tree twisted as it fell, deviating 90 degrees from its original fall path. As it dropped, it tangled with other tree branches. Its base reacted by kicking back in the direction of the two workers. Oscar suffered fatal crushing injuries, while Leo was hospitalized for treatment due to a lacerated foot. The workers were injured by the falling tree because they were in a dangerous position.

Always have a safety plan in place to prevent injuries and even death. We here at Hard Hat Training offer an amazing chainsaw certification safety training course. Consult a professional if you are not sure if your ability matches the task at hand.