Occasionally Details Landscape Art uses chainsaws on some of our projects. Since this is inherently a dangerous tool, we strongly encourage chain saw safety. Since we are not arborists, we do not climb ladders to perform tree work. The following chain saw safety guidelines relate only to ground level chain saw work.

Scott Bradley of Details Landscaper Art

We recommend using a chain saw with built in safety features. Look for kickback guards that prevent the chain from hitting other objects. Look for noise and vibration reduction features. A throttle interlock will prevent accidental throttle advance. Also, a high engine idle latch allows the operator to start the engine while holding the saw firmly on the ground. Choose a chain saw that is lightweight and has a cutting bar no longer than needed. Hand guards should be in place. The exhaust should be directed away from the operator on gas-powered machines.

Dress in the proper work clothing before operating a chain saw. Wear cuffless pants and trim, fitted clothing that allows for easy movement. Safety shoes or boots with non-slip soles and light non-slip gloves are a must. Wear a hard- hat, eye protection (safety glasses) and hearing protection. Protection for the legs, such as safety chaps, leggings or safety pads will provide maximum protection against cutting accidents.

It is important to check the work area and equipment before beginning work. Work with a buddy if possible. They can give assistance and go for help if needed. Clear an escape path and the area where work will take place. Check the chain saw for loose screws and bolts and tighten them if necessary. Check the chain for proper lubrication, tension and sharpness, and keep chain oil and gas on hand. Examine the guide bar for damage. Make sure the handles are clean and dry.

A well-maintained chain saw tends to be a safer saw. A good tool kit will help to assure continued operation of the chain saw. The tool kit should contain tools to repair the chain saw such as wrenches to fit all nut and lugs on the chain saw, a screwdriver and an extra sparkplug. A round file and guide for touching up the chain and a flat file and depth gauge to file the depth guides should be included.

Start the chain saw on clear ground and oil the chain. The chain should not move during idling. If it does, adjust the chain to stop it. Grip the chain saw properly, and hold the running chain saw with both hands. When cutting through wood, remember the chain saw cuts quickly and will continue its downward path. Stay out of its path.

Avoid sawing with the tip or nose of the guide bar, to reduce the chances of kickbacks. Turn off the saw to refuel. Do not refuel overheated saws. Refuel only with the proper gasoline. Wipe up any spills. Return caps to the chain saw and gasoline can and return the gasoline to a safe place.

Although Details Landscape Art seldom uses a chain saw, when we do we observe chain saw safety guidelines.