Public works and forestry are among the many industries that rely on the use of chain saw. According to Elvex Corporation, data from the U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission revealed that over 28,500 chain saw-related injuries occurred in 1999. Over 36 percent of these injuries involved the legs and knees. In terms of medical costs, chainsaw injuries account for around 350 million dollars yearly.
One only needs to recall the news of a dad who accidentally cut his throat in front of his wife and kid back in 2011 to get an idea of how horrible, dangerous and extremely traumatizing chainsaw accidents are. This type of accident may have been caused by a kickback, which is one of the most common forms of chainsaw accident. According to Oregon Products, kickbacks often occur when the moving chain at the tip of the guide bar brushes with an object or when the wood being cut traps the saw chain. The website describes it as “lightning-fast” which means it can be as damaging and fatal to the chain saw operator.
Chain saw injuries can be prevented through the use of proper personal protective equipment and observing safety protocols. OSHA recommends the following measures before operating a chain saw:
– As with any equipment, inspect chain saws before use. Check switches, chain tension, bolts and handles to make sure that they are in good condition or modified based on the manual.
– Check if the chain is sharp and if the lubrication container is full.
– Do not start the saw above the ground.
– Start the saw at a minimum of 10 feet away from the fueling area. Make sure to put on the brakes.
– Use containers approved for use when funneling fuel to the saw. Fuel the saw 10 feet away from any heat source. This means not smoking when fueling a saw, and never trying to fuel a saw that’s been switched on or a hot saw.
As for operating a chain saw, Jeff Culbertson from the University of Nebraska Lincoln Extension advises the following chain saw safety tips:
– Make sure you’re using the right chain saw for your cutting project. Learn how to operate the chain saw by heart and make sure you read its manufacturer’s manual from cover to cover.
– Wear the safety gear: use a helmet or hard hat, a face shield, safety glasses, and gloves.
– Chain saw chaps also help big time in preventing injuries. (Check out this video to see how effective chain saw chaps are.)
– Obviously, you have to keep body parts away from the chain saw blade.
– Start the chain saw on the ground. Lift and maneuver the saw with your body in an athletic stance (i.e. keep feet apart and aligned with shoulders, bend your knees).
– Take it slow and start small. Do not move the chain saw quickly. Familiarize yourself with the equipment well.
More chainsaw safety tips are taught during OSHA training. Speak with our representatives today to know more about your training options.