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How to use chain saws safely

June 23, 1997

Storms cause billions of dollars in property damage every year. Many homeowners are left bewildered by the amount of cleanup necessary to get their property back in order.

STIHL Inc., the manufacturer of chain saws and outdoor power equipment, offers these tips on the use of chain saws in your cleanup efforts.

  • Be aware of your surroundings. If the area where you plan to work has downed power lines, you must call in professional utility workers.
  • Do not operate a chain saw when you are overtired. Take frequent breaks. Tiredness may result in loss of control of the saw.
  • Use safety footwear, snug-fitting clothing, protective gloves and eye, ear and head protection.
  • Make sure the area in which you are cutting is free of bystanders and animals.
  • Do not start cutting until you have a clear work area, secure footing and a planned retreat path.
  • Use extreme caution when cutting small size brush and saplings because slender material may catch the chain saw and be whipped toward you or pull you off balance.
  • When cutting a limb that is under tension, be alert for spring back so that you will not be struck when the tension in the wood fibers is released.
  • When sawing, be sure that the saw chain does not touch any foreign materials such as rocks, fences, or nails. Such objects can be flung off, damage the saw chain, or cause the saw to kick back.
  • Do not stand on the log you are cutting.
  • Shattered wood should be cut carefully. The slivers of the wood can be flung towards the saw operator.
  • Try to untangle and drag logs into a clear area before cutting.
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