How to use the chainsaw safely

How to use the chainsaw safely

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It is undeniable that the chainsaw is a fundamental work tool for life in the countryside: thanks to this indispensable tool, felling can be carried out with little effort, the most important prunings will no longer see you with your arms so tired and cut to size the wood for the stove will be a job done quickly.

For each situation, however, it is necessary to have a certain familiarity with the chainsaw, using it with the correct techniques and always being cautious, in protecting yourself with active techniques (i.e. handling it correctly and using suitable techniques) and passive (i.e. wearing the appropriate PPE) .

We have already talked about how to choose the chainsaw and how to carry out routine maintenance on this tool, it is also important to focus on its use in total safety.

What PPE to wear when cutting with the chainsaw

PPE is an acronym that indicates "personal protective equipment", that is all those garments and accessories that can serve to protect the wearer during work. When you intend to use a chainsaw, regardless of the context, PPE is essential. Unfortunately, many tend to underestimate this, but it must instead be taken into account that in the event of an accident there are precautions that make the difference. Let's see what PPE you need to work safely.

  • Helmet with visor and headphones or earplugs. The use of glasses protects the eyes but leaves the other parts of the head totally exposed. In the event of a kickback (i.e. if the chainsaw bar bounces towards you) the chain brake will stop its motion, but it will still be a sharp object thrown forcefully towards your torso and face. It doesn't take much to avoid the worst and it is therefore important to wear a helmet with a suitable visor. In addition, the helmet ensures protection when you work in the woods, from any falling branches during felling or pruning. The chainsaw is a very noisy tool, hearing must be preserved in its use, exposure to intense noise damages it and for this reason the helmet must be equipped with headphones, or ear plugs must be used.
  • Gloves. A well-made pair of work gloves are a good compromise between protection and practicality. If you prefer to be more protected, there are also some with anti-cut reinforcement on the back of the left hand, to protect it if the chain should jump. If you then work with the chainsaw for many hours there are also variants with coatings on the palm to reduce the transmission of vibrations.
  • Boots or anti-cut boots. A pair of hiking boots or rubber boots will do little against a moving chain. Shopping for anti-cut footwear can be sensitive, but it protects you from the very serious repercussions that could have even small accidents. Just slip while using the chainsaw to finish the chain still in motion on the foot.
  • Cut resistant trousers or dungarees. As with footwear, there are also items of clothing designed specifically to protect the body, with fibers capable of stopping the chain by trapping the teeth before they tear the skin. The basic models have more than acceptable costs, the high-end models are barely heavier than their unsafe counterparts, but they really protect you.

Work safely with the chainsaw

Once the clothing has been arranged and the appropriate PPE is worn, we are ready to get to work. To use the chainsaw safely, our behavior will be essential at this point.

When cutting down a plant

During the felling operations it is essential to be well aware of the environment surrounding the work area and of those who work with us or pass through it. Before starting the felling cuts, it is necessary to examine the foliage to verify that there are no power or telephone cables passing close to it, that there are no unsafe branches. It is then necessary to consider that the plant lying down in the chosen direction does not interfere with the aforementioned cables, that it does not drag other plants with it or risk falling on an unwanted area.

At this point, proceed by cleaning the area around the base of the plant so as to clearly see where you are cutting and any obstacles on the ground. Once the trunk is cleaned, it is assessed whether the tree is stable and does not risk breaking during cutting. Only at this point it is decided in which direction to drive the felling and what type of cut to make.

Before turning on the chainsaw to cut, check that the area is deserted and that no unsuspecting passers-by can arrive, if necessary someone is instructed to stop any people who might arrive while cutting.

When srama a felled plant

After you have cut down a tree, you will need to use the chainsaw to limb it and slice it into convenient pieces of trunk that can be transported and stacked in an orderly manner.

The trees are not all beautiful straight pines with branches arranged in a sunburst and most of us do not participate in the lumberjack Olympics, so when you are preparing to limb the plant that is now on the ground, you should not be rushed.

Before each cut, make sure not to intervene on branches on which a bending is impressed or which support the trunk, this to avoid getting the bar stuck or worse to incur in dangerous bounces. As the cuts proceed, make sure to always move on stable ground, paying attention to any branches and branches on the ground, the best thing would be to activate the chain brake with a flick of the wrist at each movement.

When pruning

Often we find ourselves pruning from stairs, baskets or harnessed to the plant with the tree climbing technique. In these situations, rules similar to those of killing must be followed.

It is necessary to be aware of where the collaborators are, to check that the cut branches do not get caught during the fall in cables or other obstacles and that the fall area of ​​the cut material is free from objects or people.

Obviously, for this type of work, above all, there is no improvisation: experience and adequate equipment are needed. Precisely among the equipment useful for plant works, let's remember the anti-cut jackets, which protect the torso and arms: in these operations they are more exposed than during ground work. The pruning chainsaw is lighter and has a shorter bar but cuts exactly as much as a larger model.

When working in stack

During the classic cutting of wood in piles, the golden rule is one: before cutting, always make sure that the trunk does not support other wood.

It seems like a trivial advice, but in the rush to work quickly it can happen to make a lightness and combine a disaster. Also in this area, maximum attention must be paid to the working position which must be very stable: we are using a chainsaw.

When using a tripod

Fortunately, things get easier here: cutting with a chainsaw using a tripod is the condition in which the elements at stake are most under our control. However, even in this type of work, care must be taken, because the chainsaw remains a potentially very dangerous tool.

We always fix the logs carefully so that they do not free themselves from the vice or overturn during cutting, we try not to make cuts too close to the supports and above all: do not help yourself with hands or feet close to the cutting area to stabilize the log.

There are trestles with a simple and effective locking system that are able to hold the trunk in position even until the last cut, if instead you are fond of the simpler ones, help yourself with a strap or a chain with a carabiner: it is better to be fond of your own too. limbs, which are far more precious.

Video: Chainsaw Safety