Chain Saw Safety
CHARLOTTE COUNTY, Fla. (Sept. 18, 2017) - Chain saws may be the most dangerous power tool available to the public. Their blades can move up to 68 miles per hour, and their mufflers can get as hot as 900 degrees. During hurricane cleanup, when they are widely used to remove trees and branches, the risk of injury from chain saws increases. Follow these simple guidelines to help avoid such injuries:
Always read and follow the instruction manual that comes with your chain saw. Learn how to start and operate your particular saw safely.
Look for a chain saw with the following safety functions: a low-kickback chain, a hand guard, and a chain brake.
Wear protective equipment. Equipment for chain saw operators includes: protective head gear (a helmet), hearing protection, protective glasses and face shield, gloves, leg chaps, and heavy work boots. By keeping key areas of the body covered, you reduce the chance of injury.
Keep both hands on the chain saw handles at all times. Never use the saw with just one hand. Many chain saw injuries are the result of using the saw one-handed.
Cut at waist level or below. Always use the saw pointed downwards. Injuries to the head and face often result from making cuts above head level. Never cut a branch or trunk higher than your waist.
Cut AWAY from your body. Push the saw away from your body to make a cut. Never pull it towards yourself.
Avoid kickback. Kickback is when the upper tip of the saw blade contacts an object and causes the saw to come straight back at the operator. Kickback happens so fast that there is no time for reaction. To avoid kickback, never cut with the upper tip of the chain saw.
Cut with the part of the blade closest to the engine. Watch the tip at all times, and make sure it does not come into contact with the ground or other branches.
Shut off the saw when refueling it or when carrying it a distance of more than a few feet, through slippery areas, or through heavy weeds or brush.
Make your presence known. Don't approach a chain saw operator unless you're sure he is aware of your presence. Because of the safety gear and the saw's noise, a chain saw operator often cannot see or hear the approach of other people.
Take your time to do the job right. Fatigue leads to injuries, so take breaks when you need them. If you're feeling too tired, stop working altogether.
Be extra careful when cutting bent or twisted limbs. Limbs that are bent, twisted, or caught under another object are more likely to snap back and hit you or the saw.
Unplug the saw when you walk away from it. Coil the wire and put the saw away when you're done using it.
Source and more information: UF/IFAS http://gardeningsolutions.ifas.ufl.edu/plants/trees-and-shrubs/trees/cleaning-up-after-a-hurricane.html
Media and public can follow Charlotte County Emergency Management important emergency information at www.charlottecountyfl.gov , www.facebook.com/oemcharlottecounty, and www.twitter.com/ccoem.