Are chainsaws dangerous? Power tools can be hazardous when used without strict adherence to the manufacturer’s instructions or the appropriate personal protective equipment. So, what are the dangers, and how can you keep yourself safe?
What Causes Chainsaw Accidents?
Of course, working with a power tool that consists of a sharp blade spinning is cause for alarm when you lack the right safety equipment or appropriate cutting techniques. Pull-ins, pushbacks and kickbacks are typically responsible for most chainsaw-related injuries. Let us discuss what they are, how they occur and how to prevent them.
Pull-ins describe the action of a chainsaw jerking towards the object you are cutting, which can snap it from your grip and cause you to lose control. Typically, the effect occurs when the chain at the bottom of the bar gets caught when by something it cannot immediately cut through. Consequently, the chainsaw chain stops, and its momentum spinning daws you toward the object you are cutting.
Ensure the chain is rotating at its maximum speed before it meets the object being cut. In addition, put the bumper spike in contact with the object to avoid losing control of the power tool when the effect occurs. Plus, a dull chain can make pull-ins prevalent.
Pushbacks are essentially the opposite of pull-ins when using a chainsaw. The effect occurs when you rely on the chain on the top part of the bar to cut through wood. When this section of the chain gets caught by something difficult to cut, the sudden stop of the rotating action transfers the momentum toward chainsaw users.
Try to be attentive to where the cutting chain touches the solid object you are going through. It helps to avoid cutting multiple logs simultaneously and ensure you do not twist the tool when removing the saw chain from undercuts. Do not start cutting before the engine speed reaches its maximum rotation.
The average chainsaw injury occurs due to pull-ins, pushbacks or kickbacks because of the forces generated when the rotating chain suddenly stops. Pinching of the chain, either on the lower or upper side, of the bar, cause the first two. On the other hand, a kickback occurs when the upper side of the blade tip area touches a hard object when the chain is rotating.
The momentum of the rotation causes the chain saw to move in an upward-facing arc towards you. A safety chain can lower the risks of this occurrence, but it is not a guarantee. After all, the kickback motion is pretty fast.
Safety tips to help you avoid serious injury from the kickback effect include gripping your chainsaw tightly with both hands while keeping the tool below shoulder height. Keeping your elbows bent slightly keeps you from overreaching and allows for a firmer grip. Additionally, start cutting when the machine is running at full throttle and do not let up as you continue. Lastly, try to enter previous cuts cautiously and avoid standing aligned with the chainsaw blade.
Avoiding Chainsaw Injuries with Personal Protective Equipment
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a). Safety Goggles
Safety glasses are essential for proper eye protection while operating power tools. Whether using electric chainsaws or gas-powered ones, you are bound to generate splinters and flying debris that can get into your eyes. Alternatively, these wood fragments can cause you to turn your face away, which eases your attentiveness to other chainsaw safety precautions.
b). Safety Helmet
Aside from safety devices geared toward helping you avoid injuries from the chainsaw itself, felling trees can be extremely dangerous. For starters, the branches you cut can fall on your head. Thus, head and face protection can save you a trip to the hospital or even keep you alive if a tree falls on you.
c). Ear Muffs
Chainsaw operators are exposed to plenty of noise which can cause serious damage to your eardrums. Even modern chainsaws, like some excellent options under $500 or below $300 if you are on a budget, that produce lower sound levels can be health hazards for your hearing. Earplugs can help reduce the risk of losing your ability to hear from chainsaw use.
d). Chainsaw Chaps and Gloves
Protective gear for your hands should allow you to grab the handle guard securely by keeping your fingers close together. Removing sweaty hands from the equation helps you maintain control of the chainsaw and ensure general safety. In addition, safety chaps are essential if the chain brakes off from the bar and swings towards you. Keeping your body protected is vital, whether using an electric chainsaw with a chain catcher or a chain brake prevention feature.
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