Safety Tips Power tools

Safe operation of chain saws

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Chain saws are one of the most efficient portable power tools workers have at their disposal, according to OSHA. They also are one of the most dangerous. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention statistics show that every year, roughly 36,000 people are treated in emergency departments due to an injury caused by a chain saw. To help workers stay safe when using chain saws, OSHA recommends following these tips:

Before use:

  • Check that the chain saw’s controls, bolts and handles are properly working and adjusted according to the manufacturer’s directions.
  • Stay at least 10 feet away from ignition sources when fueling.
  • The chain saw’s fuel container must meet the following requirements:
    • Must be made of metal or plastic
    • Must not exceed 5 gallons
    • Must be approved by UL, Factory Mutual, the Department of Transportation or other Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratories

When operating a chain saw:

  • Maintain a secure footing.
  • Keep your hands on the saw handle and away from the blade.
  • Keep the operating area and retreat path free of debris.
  • Never cut directly overhead.
  • Before retreating, shut off or release the throttle.
  • Turn off or engage the chain brake when carrying the saw more than 50 feet or across difficult terrain.
  • Know that kick-backs are possible. To help reduce kick-back dangers, use chain brakes, low kick-back chains or guide bars.