Be saw safe this season

by Andy Bryenton

The chainsaw has transformed the way we work with timber and made many of our lives a lot easier when it comes to yard maintenance and that all-important winter firewood.

Nevertheless, like any tool, a chainsaw deserves respect. Follow the professionals and take heed of these top tips to coincide with 2019 Chainsaw Safety Awareness Week.

Chainsaw work clothing should be snug-fitting, with no loose elements getting in your way. Wear trousers with a reinforced cut-retardant layer, or invest in the latest in timber-workers’ chaps filled with fibres that clog the blade and save your skin in an emergency. Your shoes should be protective cut-retardant footwear with non-slip soles and steel toecaps and protect your hands with heavy-duty non-slip gloves, preferably in leather. Don’t forget to wear proper head, face and eye protection as well as earplugs or mufflers.

Next, check the saw itself. A rattly, rusty old saw with the wrong parts, half-bodged repairs or a dull, poorly tensioned chain is an accident waiting to happen, and a hassle to work with even if nothing goes wrong.

If in doubt, don’t use the chainsaw, especially if you were not the last one to operate it. Additionally, while it seems like a basic precaution, don’t forget to check your work area. Plan out your strategy when cutting limbs or trees, look out for power lines and tripping hazards.

Here’s what Stihl, the sponsors of Chainsaw Safety Awareness Week, say about proper chainsaw technique. Keep two hands on the saw and hold it close to your body, with the body of the saw close to what you’re cutting.

Plant your feet firmly and slightly apart for balance. Never try to adjust your chain or machine while the engine is running. They also note that good maintenance will extend the chainsaw’s life and ensure it is safe to use. When you finish a job make sure the air filters, sprocket cover and chain brake mechanism are free from sawdust; clean the guide bar groove; oil the holes and check everything is in place.

Thanks to Stihl, we have a set of safety equipment to give away during Chainsaw Safety Awareness Week. To be in to win this special edition STIHL Chainsaw Safety Pack, which consists of chaps, ear muffs and safety glasses, email your name and phone number to comp@integrity.nz with the correct answer to the following question. Which leading outdoor power equipment company is the sponsor of Chainsaw Safety Awareness Week 2019?