Chainsaw Safety

When the time comes to start cutting this winter's firewood supply, chainsaw safety should be your top priority.

| September/October 1984

  • Illustration of proper chainsaw safety practices
    Wearing protective gear and maintaining the proper stance are essential to chainsaw safety.
    Illustration courtesy of Barnacle Parp's Chain Saw Guide

  • Illustration of proper chainsaw safety practices

More and more people, especially those trying to achieve some measure of independence from the energy brokers, are discovering the usefulness of the modern lightweight chainsaw for outdoor tasks ranging from cutting fuel for the family woodstove to clearing woodland tangles for a new garden patch. But this valuable power tool can be — is — dangerous if not used properly and treated with informed respect. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, some 69,423 Americans were injured seriously enough in chainsaw accidents in 1982 to be treated in hospital emergency rooms. Of those seen in ER's, 2,221 were hurt badly enough to be admitted to the hospital ... and 139 were pronounced dead on arrival.

Alarming statistics? You bet. But worse yet is the fact that the majority of those mishaps and fatalities could easily have been prevented, since they were caused by lack of familiarity with the equipment or careless operation of it.

I have long been convinced that almost all accidents could be avoided if operators would adhere to a few commonsense chainsaw safety rules. And to help that conviction become a reality, I've drawn up a list of basic chainsawing Do's and Don'ts for woodcutters who, like me, have no intention of ever becoming accident statistics.

Chainsaw Do's

*When shopping for new chainsaws or accessories, consider those with built-in safety features such as automatic chain brakes, bar-tip guards, antikickback guide bars, antikickback chains, and hand guards.

*Read your owner's manual carefully, reviewing it before each woodcutting season to familiarize yourself with your saw and its proper and safe operation.

*Keep your chainsaw in perfect working order; a sharp chain and well-maintained saw make safe operation more certain.

David Rickenbacher
4/8/2009 11:21:00 PM

Just wanted to thank you for the mother earth news... It great.... Also I want to comment about saw saw-safety.... My life change because of a chain saw and table saw too. I mwas holding a log for my Dad and the chainsaw jump and hit my left to make a long story short. I had a retransplant operation on my left hand..... That happen in 1965 in Seattle, Washington I was very lucky my Dad was a DO and he knew what to do. And I had the operation in Seattle and I have parts hold everything together in my left hand.... Today I still am disable in my left hand.... But I can deal with it. THan on Nov 30,08 I was totally alone and I didmnt thik. I forgot to but the safety guard on my new table saw. and I manage rip my fingers apart. That was a blood mess... I was very lucky my neighbor where on the road and they call 911.and I had my finger fix up at the hospital. But every week it was to the family Doctor. And my wife help me too,because I disable in both hands.. Please dont publishes this I just want to tell you all what can happen....


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