A chainsaw is a tool that comes in many guises. Depending on the model it can be just as simple or complicated as you need it to be. It all comes down to your usage, your price-range and your experience. Most of the features and add-ons can be compromised with. But one thing that should always be paramount is safety.
To avoid accidents there are a couple of simple things to keep in mind when operating and taking care of your saw. First of all you should make sure the chainsaw is equipped with proper safety features. These should be inspected and controlled on a regular basis.
Most of the features are mandatory, but – best be sure and control anyway:
• Kickback guard and chain brake
This will automatically stop the chain if the saw isn’t handled correctly or if a kickback happens.
• Throttle lock
With throttle lock the saw will only function while holding down a certain button.
• Chain catcher
Should the chain break or derail, this stops it from flying all over the place.
• Right-hand guard
Protection for the right hand.
• Easily accessible stop control
A button or control that allows you to stop the chain instantly if a critical situation should arise.
Most of Husqvarna’s chainsaws are fitted with the extra safety feature TrioBrakeTM and AutoTune™. The TrioBrake system provides the user with a third way to activate the chain brake by using their right hand. This adds another safety dimension to avoid injuries when, for example, sawing above ones shoulders. The AutoTune feature optimizes the engine settings, right from the start, auto-adjusting the carburettor enhancing performance reliability, thus making it easier – and safer – to operate the saw.
Secondly, you should always use protective clothing, and here there are international standards that regulate what works and what doesn’t. Be sure to wear the following:
• Protective glasses
• Forestry jacket with proper upper body coverage
• Protective trousers
• Anti-slip boots
• You might also want to have a first-aid kit easily accessible
Cutting, felling, planning ahead
Finally, when it comes to safety it’s all about handling the saw. Naturally it’s imperative to learn correct sawing techniques before hacking away. The easiest way is to attend courses and training programs that’ll teach you the how:s and when:s. No one is an experienced chainsaw user from day one. There are also a few basic rules to abide by:
• The thumb grip
Steady grip is the key. 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
Hold the saw close to the body to achieve balance and accuracy.
The optimal working position is with feet apart with the left foot in front of your right. Remember to bend the knees instead of the back.
Make sure to have no one within a distance of 3-5 metres when working with a chainsaw.
When felling trees – plan ahead, remove foliage and debris from the area you want the tree to fall and be careful when doing your felling cuts. Care and precision is the key to safety.
Finally make sure that you never work alone and that there is always a means of communication if a critical accident should happen. Safety precautions, the right equipment and careful planning. With all this taken into account you’re now set. Safety first, now … start your engines!