Chain Saw Safety After A Disaster

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Release date: 
February 13, 2002
Release Number: 
1403-04

Kansas City, MO -- Chain saws can be great labor saving tools to clear debris after a disaster. But, if not operated properly and with respect, they can quickly cause severe injury and death. If you are not familiar with techniques of sawing, saw operation, or maintenance, read your owner's manual, consult a more detailed publication, or ask a dealer for more information.

Follow these steps for safety. Safety features cannot substitute for knowledge.

More comprehensive chain saw safety information can be found by visiting the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health web site at and entering "chain saw" as search criteria.

  • Get the dealer to demonstrate how to use the saw. Read the manual.

  • For major woodcutting, invest in a heavy-duty saw.

  • For most uses, a saw with a 12-20"-inch cutting bar is good.

  • Consider weight and balance. Make sure that all controls are simple to operate and accessible to the hand.

  • Inspect the motor housing. There should be no sharp corners or protruding parts.

  • Sharpen the saw regularly.

  • Look for anti-kick nose guards, quick-stop brakes, and wraparound hand guards on any saw you use. Kickback accounts for almost one-third of chain saw accidents.

  • Wear proper protective equipment.

  • Use the fuel mix recommended by the manufacturer.

  • Cut safely; keep both hands on the chain saw handles.

  • Take frequent breaks.

Last Updated: 
July 16, 2012 - 18:46
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