How to identify chainsaw work area safety zones

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Consider your workplace safety zone before you turn on your engine

When you intend to use a chainsaw, it's important to check the work area for hazards before you start felling or cutting.

Obviously, you'll never deliberately do anything that will harm another person when you are using your chainsaw but you do need to be mindful.

Here's a personal example of a lack of mindfulness

Last year I was chopping up some branches my neighbor himself had cut down and thrown over the fence for me to use as firewood.

I happened to run out of fuel and the saw cut out. I put it down in front of me and that's when I realized my two-year-old daughter was standing just me. Gave me a hell of a fright with the realization that a kickback or an odd movement from myself could have put her in harm's way.

It appears I did not shut the back door of the house properly.

Did I think to do so?

I can't recall, but either way, I wasn't mindful enough to check my working zone would be safe.

So I know personally this is no joke, and you do too, that's why you're here, looking for safety zone advice.

Now this may be obvious stuff but so is properly shutting a door so here we go:
  • Check that there are no (or will be) no people or animals in your work zone. Tell people around you to stay clear and ask mums or dads to keep the kids inside.
  • Do not work in adverse weather conditions such as heavy rain, snow or high winds or even rain
  • Ensure you have a clear work area in which you have a stable footing and do not have to reach or work off balance. Make ladder adjustments as necessary and have a support person as required. 
  • Make your way carefully on uneven or sloping ground. Wear some suitable & sturdy boots.
  • Shut down the chainsaw off before carrying it. Carry it by the front handle with the bar to the rear - not balancing on your shoulders mate!
  • If you are felling trees, make sure other people are at least two tree lengths away. Before you commence cutting, determine your escape route escape route, one that is cleared to the side and rear.
  • Check for hazards in the area - such as electricity or telecommunication cables. If in doubt, seek advice from the local controlling authority.
  • Always check for any material such as branches or tops which may dislodge and fall into the work area as the tree falls. 
  • Be mindful when cutting greenery such as blackberry.
  • Once you're in the zone (you're working, you're moving, you're in the zone, you're grooving) - be mindful of reducing the chance of a kick back - and for goodness sake, wear some head gear and safety pants
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