Chainsaws can simplify heavy-duty yard tasks such as clearing timber, pruning trees and cutting firewood. However, the raw power of a chainsaw can create safety dangers to users and those nearby.
Follow these simple chainsaw safety tips to help you be comfortable with proper operation of your chainsaw, prevent accidents and protect yourself from serious injury.
Wear Safety Gear
Wear proper clothing that fits snugly and personal protective items before operating a gas-powered or electric chainsaw.
- Safety goggles for eye protection
- Face shield to keep fast moving wood chips away from your face
- Head protection to deflect anything that could fall on you
- Hearing protection as permanent hearing damage can occur from exposure to chainsaw noise
- Saftey footwear, such as steel-toe work boots or steel-toe work shoes, will help protect your feet from falling logs
- Protective chaps and leg guards offer protection against chainsaw operation hazards
- Heavy-duty work gloves and long-sleeved shirts prevent bark and splinters from scuffing your hands and arms
Tip: Wearing heavy protective clothing can lead to operator fatigue, which could lead to heat stroke. During weather that is hot and humid, schedule your work for the early morning or late afternoon when temperatures are cooler. Take safety breaks regularly.
Check the Chainsaw's Operation
Know your tool. Understand its limitations and the potential hazards of its operation.
- Do not operate a chainsaw that is damaged. Keep the saw maintained so the tool stays in good working order.
- Do not operate a gas-powered engine in an enclosed area to avoid dangerous carbon monoxide fumes.
- Shut down the engine and apply the chain brake before setting the saw down.
- Keep the handles clean, dry and free of slippery oil or fuel mixture.
- Use caution when handling fuel and move away from the fueling area before starting the engine.
- Carry the saw with the engine stopped and the brake engaged.
- Keep all body parts away from the engine’s muffler, which can become very hot during operation.
- Always keep the saw’s blade lubricated to prevent overheating and damage to the tool.
- Maintain proper tension on the chainsaw blade.
- Follow all safety warnings, labels and instructions for your particular chainsaw.
Use Techniques for Safe Chainsaw Operation
Failure to use a chainsaw properly can cause serious personal injury. Never use a chainsaw when fatigued or under the influence of medication, drugs or alcohol.
- Do not stand on any unstable surface when using the chainsaw, such as ladders, scaffolds or trees.
- Maintain good balance and footing. Do not overreach or cut above shoulder level.
- Do not operate a chainsaw with one hand. Keep a tight grip with both hands wrapping your fingers and thumbs around the top and rear handles.
- Remain aware of your surroundings. Keep your work area free of tripping hazards and the cutting arm away from obstructions.
- Run the throttle at full speed. Maintain steady pressure on the cutting arm to the wood being cut. Allow the saw to do the work and don’t apply heavy pressure.
- Avoid chainsaw kickback: Don’t allow the tip of the cutting arm to come in contact with any objects. This can cause a lightning-fast reverse reaction, kicking the guide bar up and back toward the user resulting in serious injury.
- When cutting a tree trunk that’s lying on the ground, let up on the downward pressure as you near the end of the cut. Keep the blade from coming in contact with the ground, which could cause personal injury and damage to the saw.
When you need to use as chainsaw for a one-time project, consider tool rental. You can rent chainsaws, other tools and trucks to haul away your cut wood from The Home Depot’s Tool and Truck Rental Center. Our associates will review safety guidelines and explain how to properly operate the saw so you can complete your project with confidence.