How to practice proper chainsaw safety

How to practice proper chainsaw safety

If you need to cut trees, logs, or brush, or if your trees just need a trim, you may be tempted to save money by doing the work yourself rather than hiring a professional. After all, chainsaw use seems to be pretty straightforward. Actually, it is, but such work does require knowing how and careful use of what can be a very dangerous tool.

Before attempting to use a chainsaw, study the owner’s manual, and read and understand the manufacturer’s directions. Familiarize yourself with any special features, safety features or measures, and the tool itself before beginning.


  1. Wear proper clothing and gear. You should always wear protective gear such as cut-proof clothing or specially designed chainsaw “chaps” and cut-proof gloves, safety glasses, and sturdy boots, preferably steel-toed. Never wear loose, open, un-tucked clothing, items with large cuffs or large pockets, or any other item that may get caught up in the moving chain.
  2. Take care of long hair or jewelry. Long hair should always be pulled back, tied up, or tucked into a cap, and you should not wear jewelry while operating the saw.
  3. Clear the area. Make sure the area in which you will be using the chainsaw is clear of people, animals, hindrances, and distractions.
  4. Check the ground and the area you plan to cut. Make sure the ground is not muddy, too soft, or slippery so you can firmly plant your feet before starting the saw. Beware of loose brush, rocks, or holes that may cause you to trip. Make sure there are no obstructions where you intend to cut. The saw blade can become damaged or the saw may kick back and injure you.
  5. Make sure you are alert. If you feel ill, sleepy, distracted, or if you have been drinking or are on medication, do not operate a chainsaw.
  6. Start the saw according to the enclosed instructions. Carelessly starting a chainsaw creates the risk of serious injury.
  7. Secure yourself and the saw before cutting. Stand with both feet firmly planted on the ground, and hold the saw securely with both hands. Hold the saw out to the side of your body when cutting. If the saw hits an obstruction and bounces back, it has less chance of hitting you.
  8. Always turn the chainsaw off before moving it to another area. Do not walk around with a running saw. If you slip, trip, or fall, you could hurt yourself or hurt someone else.
  9. Do not try to cut anything that is not comfortably within reach. Reaching with a saw is very dangerous, especially if you raise the chainsaw any higher than your shoulders. Always maintain a comfortable stance or position in order to maintain better control of the saw.
  10. Do not climb a ladder or climb a tree and attempt to use a chainsaw. Such actions should be reserved for professionals or those that have been properly trained in the handling of saws and have the proper gear to execute such cuts. Many professionals even avoid ladders, preferring to climb into the tree with a safety harness, ropes, and spikes.

If you have questions or there are actions you are unsure of, please consult a professional. Many people sustain serious injuries each year due to improper and even careless use of chainsaws. If used properly, and given the proper respect, a chainsaw can be a beneficial addition to your tool collection.

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