10 Tips for safe chainsaw operation

Chain saws are the most high risk tools that a homeowner can operate. Combine that with felling a tree and it leads to the most deaths and injuries to homeowners every year. Considering that not everyone is going to have a professional cut their firewood, here are some tips to help you, the homeowner, be safe when operating a chain saw.

  1. Always wear chainsaw protective chaps, helmet, eye protection, hearing protection, and closed toe boots (preferable leather). Gloves and face shield screen are recommended.
  2. Start the saw on the ground or secured between the legs ONLY, no drop starts (chain saws are not Yo-Yo's)
  3. Always use 2 hands. The handles are there for a reason.
  4. Chain saws are meant for right handed operation only. There is no such thing as a left handed chain saw, never has been.
  5. Engage the chain brake when ever taking more than one step and whenever not cutting with the saw.
  6. Always run saw below the shoulders. Anything higher is to dangerous and must done with a pole pruner or by a professional climber.
  7. Start cutting with the base of the bar and use dog teeth if possible. Using the tip may lead to kickback which can cause serious injury or death.
  8. Use low kickback safety chain and small chain-saws. Large professional version saws have more power and can be extremely dangerous if not handled properly.
  9. Run the chain saw off on the right side of your body. Do not lean across the cut path of the saw.

Following these rules will help in ensuring safe chain saw operation. It is still recommended that you follow all manufactures instructions and wear all protective equipment while operating the chain saw. Know your limits and if the project seems like it may be too much. It is.

By Sam Kezar, Certified Arborist

Sam Kezar, M.S. in Arboriculture, Member of the International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) and Minnesota Society of Arboriculture and ISA Certified Arborist, MW 4503AT.

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