Chain Saw Safety Considerations

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 13,035
    Outdoor power equipment expert and ECHO Incorporated representative Dan Rosenberger describes safety considerations for using a chain saw.

    Dan Rosenberger: Hi! I'm Dan with Echo Incorporated. Today, we're going to talk about how to use and maintain your gas chainsaw. The first thing you want to do is figure out what application you have when deciding what chainsaw to buy. Here we have a top handle chainsaw, normally bought by a homeowner to do a small job. This particular unit has a 14 inch bar and chain on it and an inertia chain brake, purge valve for easy cold starting, and then rubber grommets that separates the handle from the engine. It's normally used in smaller applications and limbing. Commercial application when arborists are climbing the trees doing limbing up in the air.

    Next, we have a mid-range saw. Little bit bigger, cubic inch, little bit bigger, CC range, which in turn will allow you to run a little bit longer bar and chain. This particular saw will go from a 16 up to an 18 inch bar and chain. This is normally purchased by the homeowner, farmer or rancher, that needs to do some light clearing or some light firewood around the house.

    Then we move up into more of a professional style, bigger cubic inch saw, bigger CC saw. This is going to allow you to run a much bigger bar and chain. This particular unit will run from a 16 inch bar all the way up to a 27 inch bar. Generally, this is purchased by someone who is burning firewood for a primary heat source, farmer, ranchers, someone who is going to use the saw four or fives days of the week. This is also bought by professionals, who make their living using the chainsaw everyday. So now that you've decided which chainsaw to buy for your application. Let's talk about some of the safety features you will find on your chainsaw. The first is the inertia chain brake. The way its designed is it has a ring around the clutch. When it feels pressure on the tip of the saw, or on the brake, the ring will collapse around the clutch stopping the chain immediately. This is activated by the brake. You move it forward and it puts the brake on. You pull back and it releases the brake. So that's the first feature.

    The second feature is the body of the saw, it's separated from the handle. So all that vibration that's caused by the engine is actually getting put into these rubber grommets, which in turn reduces the amount of fatigue on your hand. So you always have control of the chainsaw.

    The third thing is your side chain tensioner. You always want to have the right tension on the bar and chain, so your chain is not slipping off the bar. So if you pull the chain up, just so you see the bottom of the teeth on top of the bar, that's the perfect tension. The fourth thing is the chain catch. This is a removable piece of aluminium or plastic. It will actually catch the chain, if it happens to come off of its rails. So if your chain got loose and it came off of the bar, the chain catch would catch it and then through it directly down on the ground. You want to wear a pair of leather shoes, preferably steel toed in your application. Next, you want your chaps. These have polyesters strings in them. They're going to stop the chain immediately, if it makes contact with your legs. You want to wear a long sleeve shirt that is tight fitting, doesn't get in contact with bar and chain.

    The next thing you want to do is wear a hearing protection that buffers your ears from the loud decibels of the chainsaw. You have eye protection from the material coming up from the bar and chain. You have a helmet on, for any material that you're moving sideways or branches falling from the tree while you're cutting wood. So next we have gloves. They're going to give you a firm grip on the chainsaw and save your hands while you're transporting material. So let me show you how to start your chainsaw.