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How can I Stay Safe When Using a Chainsaw?

By Sherry Holetzky
Updated May 17, 2024
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A chainsaw can be a very helpful tool, if used properly. If you are not familiar with a chainsaw or with how you should operate one, read the manufacturer's instructions. If you are still uncertain, it is a good idea to seek help from someone with a little more knowledge on the subject.

Even if you are comfortable with the idea of using a chainsaw, there are some important precautions to keep in mind, such as wearing protective glasses and cut-proof gloves and clothing. If you require eyeglasses, wear them when operating the saw. Look for safety glasses that can be worn over your regular glasses.

Choose clothing carefully, avoiding hooded sweatshirts with dangling cords, or loose-fitting apparel that could become entangled in the chain. Tuck in shirts, and if you have long hair, tie it back. Other clothing tips include wearing heavy boots, and removing jewelry when using a saw.

Avoid using a chainsaw when tired, sick, or taking medication. It's important to be alert at all times. Never use a chainsaw after consuming alcohol or drugs.

To avoid injuring yourself and others, do not move from place to place with a running chainsaw. Turn off the saw before moving on to the next area. Also, make sure no one is close to you when you are operating a chainsaw. Kickback can cause severe injuries. Children and pets should be kept out of the work area.

When cutting, keep both hands on the saw and hold it off to one side. If the saw kicks it is less likely to hit your body. Whatever you wish to cut should be kept within easy reach, without awkward stretching or bending. Overextending while wielding a chainsaw can be dangerous, as you won't have as much control over the saw. Also, never hold the saw above your head.

Attempting to climb a ladder with a chainsaw is not a good idea, nor is climbing a tree and attempting to operate the saw. It's probably best to leave these jobs to trained professionals. Only use a chainsaw for such tasks as trimming and shaping garden hedges and shrubs, or other yard work that can be done comfortably and easily on the ground.

Use common sense and follow these tips as well as all safety precautions suggested by the manufacturer, and you should have no trouble safely using a chainsaw.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
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