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Using power tools like a chainsaw can make work a lot easier and faster. Workers who use a chainsaw on a periodic basis may feel that they are up to date on their safety precautions when it comes to these powerful tools. However, there are still some cases where factors are overlooked thus resulting in accidents. For companies that do not regularly use chainsaws in their line of work but may need to on some occasions, these incidents are more probable.
Most power tools bring huge benefits while simultaneously exposing workers to the potential of much more severe accidents. While it is the duty of companies to ensure safety in using these tools, handlers need to be more cautious during use because, at the end of the day, it is their fingers, eyes, limb and body that is at risk.
Role of Companies
Employers who require their workers to use a chainsaw must facilitate and ensure the proper use of the tool is taking place. First, a thorough screening of the handler must be done.
- Have they used a chainsaw before?
- Have there been previous accidents that occurred while they were using a chainsaw?
- Have they undergone training in the proper use of a chainsaw and how to protect themselves?
Second, companies need to provide training in chainsaw safety. A safety expert or competent person in the field of construction or power tools are the only people who can provide proper training on how to handle the tool safely. Demonstrations by coworkers who are experienced in the safe use of the tool are also helpful.
Third, employers need to provide their workers with a complete set of Personal Protective Equipment in using the tool. Gloves and goggles must be provided as well as a hardhat and a face shield. First aid kits and other safety equipment must be available in cases of an accident.
Fourth, companies need to provide good and functional chainsaws to use. These tools must be inspected regularly for any defects or damages that could trigger a loss of machine control.
OSHA Quick Card on Chainsaw Safety
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration create a safety card for companies and workers operating a chainsaw in their line of work. There are 3 parts of the quick card:
- Before Starting a Chainsaw
- Controls, tensions and bolts must be checked for functionality and must adhere to the instructions of the manufacturer.
- Lubrication reservoir must be full.
- Chains must be sharp.
- Support must be firm or on the ground when starting and at least 10 feet from the fueling area.
- Fueling a Chainsaw
- Approved containers must be used in fuel transport.
- Strictly no smoking is allowed
- Fueling must be at least 10 feet away and must use a funnel or a flexible hose.
- Do not fuel a hot or running saw.
- Chainsaw Safety
- Proper PPE must be used when operating a chainsaw. No loose-fitting clothes.
- Limbs or trunk of trees must not bind to the saw.
- Check for debris and clear the path of the saw prior to use.
- When carrying the chainsaw on a rough terrain, shut the power off.
- Maintain proper footing and hand motion when using the saw.
- Be on guard of saw kickback. Protective devices must be attached to the chainsaw, especially when gasoline-powered, to prevent kickback.
Other Chainsaw Safety Tips
- Always plan your cut. Before using the chainsaw, anticipate where you will need to cut and how to go through to avoid any errors or accidents.
- Understand the risk of your situation. Rough and cold terrains are riskier to use a chainsaw. Make sure that you know the location and dangers of where you are using your saw.
- Be patient. Some jobs take time. Never do a shortcut, if necessary.
- Never use a chainsaw alone. In case of emergency, there is someone who can help you. Your co-worker can perform first-aid or call for help when needed.
- Alert people around you that you are starting your chainsaw. It will make them aware of their own distance from where you are working.
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