Safety Tips Injury prevention Power tools

Don’t saw off safety

Photo: Drew300/iStockphoto

Loggers, heavy equipment operators, firefighters and highway maintenance workers are some of the occupations that may require the use of a chainsaw on the job.

Although many chainsaws now come equipped with safety features, workers still need to be trained on proper use of the tool.

The Canadian Center for Occupational Health and Safety offers some chainsaw use do’s and don’ts:


  • Inspect the saw for damaged, loose or missing parts, as well as other signs of wear.
  • Make sure the chain is properly lubricated and sharp before using.
  • Clean the air filter if needed.
  • Make sure you are well-balanced before starting the tool.
  • Point the chain away from your body. Use a quick, sharp motion on the starter cord.
  • Warm up the saw before cutting. The saw should idle without the chain turning.


  • Use a saw if it’s damaged, improperly adjusted, or has loose or missing parts.
  • “Drop start” the saw (starting it in your hands) when it’s touching your body. “This method leaves only one hand to control a running saw and can result in leg cuts.”
  • Start a saw if it’s within 10 feet of a fuel safety container.
  • Make adjustments to the chain or guide bar when the motor is running.

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