10 smart steps for chainsaw safety

(BPT) - The buzzing, the crack, the call of "timber!" Whether you're trimming vegetation on your rural property or updating the landscaping by your suburban home, a chainsaw helps you get the job done quickly and efficiently.

Millions of homeowners safely use chainsaws every year, however, it's important to recognize outdoor power equipment is dangerous. Every person who uses a chainsaw must take precautions to prevent accidents and injuries.

Follow these 10 smart steps to help keep you safe every time you use a chainsaw, from the power equipment experts at Husqvarna:

Pause before you begin

Before you start working, follow these rules:
- Tell someone where you'll be working.
- Always carry a mobile phone.
- Keep a first aid kit close at hand.
- Park your vehicle so that you can make a quick exit if necessary.

Wear a helmet

Whether a professional logger or weekend DIY warrior, you should always wear proper chainsaw safety equipment. A helmet with earmuffs, full-face visor and protective glasses will help protect your entire head, including your eyes and ears.

Dress to protect

The most common chainsaw injury is a laceration, an injury that breaks the skin. The right protective clothing minimizes the risk of laceration and other injuries. When using a chainsaw always wear:
- Protective pants or chaps
- Forestry jacket/shirt with proper upper body coverage
- Protective trousers
- Anti-slip boots
- Gloves

Select a chainsaw with safety features

Husqvarna chainsaws combine professional-grade performance with top-of-the-line ergonomics. Safety features include a kickback guard and chain brake to ensure the chain stops if the saw isn't handled correctly. A throttle lock allows the saw to only function when you keep pressing a certain button. Finally, a chain catcher stops the chain from flying off in case of chain break or derail.

Get equipment checked

If you have a chainsaw, it's important to have it regularly inspected. A professional inspection will ensure the chainsaw's safety features are functioning properly. If issues are found, a simple tuneup can correct any problems so you stay safe.

Handle with care

Using these proper chainsaw handling techniques will minimize the risk of injury or strain:
- Wrap thumbs and fingers completely around the handles and hold your left-hand thumb under the front handle to reduce the force of a kickback.
- Don't fear the saw; be confident and hold it close to your body to achieve balance, control and accuracy.
- The optimal working position is with your left foot in front of your right and with your knees bent rather than your back.
- Never rotate the chain when you move to another spot.
- Make sure no one is within 10 feet when you're working with a chainsaw.
- Never use a chainsaw while on a ladder or around a downed power line.

Secure site safety

If you're cutting down a whole tree, study it to see if it has been damaged by decay or cracks. Is the tree leaning? In which direction will the tree or branch naturally fall? Create a plan and always make sure nobody is within the distance of at least twice the tree height you're working on so they're not susceptible to injury from the fall.

Storage

A chainsaw can still cause injury even when not in use, so proper storage is essential. After use, clean the equipment of any debris. Protect your chainsaw from dust and sunlight by using a hard case or protective storage bag. Always store in a location out of the reach of children and other people, ideally in a locked space. If storing for the season, empty the fuel tank and remove the chain to clean and oil.

Refine your skills

If you're not an experienced chainsaw user, practicing can mean learning a host of dangerous habits. Consider taking a class at your local power equipment dealer.


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