“Whether it’s cleaning up after a storm, performing tree maintenance, or making firewood, during the fall season a chain saw may be in the hands of an inexperienced operator,” said Gary Hardee, product manager for Husqvarna. “It’s crucial for anyone operating a saw to carefully review the owner’s manual and follow all recommended guidelines.”
In particular, post-storm cleanup presents some of the most dangerous working conditions for a saw operator. Hardee recommends that should you have any concerns about how to handle a certain situation, rely on a professional arborist or tree care expert instead of putting yourself or others at risk.
If you decide to operate a chain saw, Hardee offers six important precautions to follow regardless of the conditions:
1. Select the right saw: Use a mid-sized saw for cutting wood on the ground, such as one with a bar of 16 to 20 inches, for good maneuverability without being too heavy. For smaller limbs, a lightweight, high-speed saw is recommended. Look for design features like good balance, low vibration and high power-to-weight ratio.
2. Wear protective apparel. By far the most overlooked aspect of chain saw operation is appropriate apparel. A properly outfitted operator wears protective chaps or pants, eye and ear protection, protective footwear and work gloves, and a helmet.
3. Inspect the saw before use. Ensure both the inertia and manual activation of the chain brake are in proper working condition. Inspect the chain catch for damage and have it repaired as necessary. Also, test the throttle lock-out feature for proper operation. Inspect the bar and chain and repair or replace as necessary. While wearing gloves, work the chain back and forth on the bar to test for proper tensioning and correct installation.
4. Start safe. A chain saw is safest to start on the ground with the chain brake engaged. Be sure nothing is obstructing the guide bar/chain. To make sure the saw sits securely on the ground, place your right foot in the rear handle.
5. Carefully plan your cutting job. Potential factors include tree lean, electric lines, wind, adjacent roads and bystanders, and dead limbs. Note that “struck-by” injuries from falling limbs are one of the most common accidents for a saw operator. Work at a safe distance, but never work alone.
6. Protect yourself against “kick-back.” Never cut with the upper half of the tip of the bar. Kickback occurs when the tip of the bar comes in contact with an object or gets pinched during operation, causing the bar to “kick” up and back towards the operator and result in a loss of control and possible injury.
For more information about proper chain saw operation, download Husqvarna’s free instructional manual, “How to Work with a Chain Saw,” available at www.usa.husqvarna.com. To locate a nearby dealer, call 1-800 HUSKY 62.
Husqvarna is the world's largest producer of lawn mowers, chainsaws and portable gas-powered garden equipment such as trimmers and blowers. The Group is also a world leader in diamond tools and cutting equipment for the construction and stone industries. Net sales in 2006 were USD 3.9 billion and the average number of employees was 11,400.