Chainsaw Safety, Part I

It’s winter, and for me that means time to fire up the chain saw.

by Jim Ruen
Jim Ruen talks chainsaw safety

It’s winter, and for me that means time to fire up the chain saw. Between fence line cleanup and firewood making, there is plenty of cutting to be done.

There was a time when such work meant grabbing the chainsaw, a fuel can and “the tool” and heading for the job site. As I’ve gotten older and at least marginally smarter, how I face tree removal has changed. Chainsaw safety has become more important than speed.

Here are a few steps that I try to follow before I make my first cut:

A smooth running machine is a safer machine.  I usually start by checking fuel level, chain lubricant level and the air filter. This is also a good time to check chain tension.

Slip on a pair of leather gloves and grasp the chain mid bar. You should be able to lift it slightly. Check the chainsaw brake. When you engage it, can you still rotate the chain? Is the chain sharp? Check the throttle trigger, throttle trigger lockout and the stop switch. Does the trigger spring back to the idle position?

If everything looks good, step out of the shop and give the chainsaw a test run. Of course before starting the engine, I put on hearing protectors to retain what hearing I still have. 

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I also do a quick check of my clothing. Always wear a snug fit around an operating chainsaw.  We’ll cover more on that in my next entry.

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