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    Safety Tips | Power tools

    Chain saw safety

    October 1, 2011

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    Operating a chain saw poses a number of very serious risks. OSHA recommends the following protective measures when operating a chain saw:

    Before starting:

    • Check the chain tension and all controls, bolts and handles to ensure they are adjusted according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
    • Make sure the chain is sharp and the lubrication reservoir is full.
    • Do not drop-start the saw. Start it on the ground or another firm surface.
      Start the saw at least 10 feet from the fueling area, with the chain’s brake engaged.


    • Always transport fuel in approved containers.
    • Dispense fuel at least 10 feet from any sources of ignition.
    • Never smoke while fueling.
    • Pour fuel into the saw using a funnel or flexible hose.
    • Never attempt to fuel a saw while it is hot or running.

    Safe operations:

    • Clear dirt, debris and rocks from the chain saw’s path. Before sawing, examine the wood for hidden nails, spikes or other metals.
    • When carrying the chain saw on rough or uneven terrain, be sure either the brake is engaged or the saw is fully shut off.
    • Keep both hands on the chain saw’s handle and maintain sure footing during operation.
    • Wear personal protective equipment to protect your hands, feet, head, face and hearing.
    • Do not operate the chain saw in loose-fitting clothing.
    • Be careful of branches under tension, which may spring out after being cut.
    • Do not saw with the tip. Keep the tip guard in place if the chain saw is equipped with one.
    • Ensure all gasoline-powered chain saws are equipped with a protective device to minimize kickback.  

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