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  1. #1
    Veteran Member
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    Denton, TX
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    BX 2200

    Default Chainsaw safety

    A mention of a chainsaw accident in one of the other forums prompted me to address this subject. I spent my college years as an arborist and forester and would like to share some tips. The most important thing you have to understand is the potential danger of these useful tools. You'll be requiring over 30 stitches for every tenth of a second that spinning chain touches your skin. And I'll guarantee the scar won't impress the girls. [img]/forums/images/graemlins/frown.gif[/img]

    First of all, if you're using an older style saw that doesn't have an "anti-kickback chainbrake", vibration isolation and a chain guard to prevent a broken or de-railed chain from wrapping around your hand, then it's time to shell out some money for a modern saw. The risks aren't worth it. Besides, a quality modern saw (husky, stihl) will greatly increase your productivity and comfort, as well as add to your safety. While you're buying your new saw, also purchase some good leather gloves (Don't use a saw without them), hardhat with flip-down ear muffs and face guard and some chainsaw chaps.

    Second, never work alone with a chainsaw, or at the very least let someone know where you're working and when you'll be back. Be sure of what you're cutting and avoid cutting with the tip of the bar. A kickback is not a good thing and usually sends the bar violently upward toward your face. Also, watch for limbs under strain. These can spring with amazing force.

    Lastly, carry some first aid supplies. I always wore a bandana around my neck for the following reasons: wear as a headband to keep sweat out of my eyes, use as a rag, use as a tourniquet (sp) or use to apply pressure to a wound. I also kept some womens tampons and feminine pads in the glove box. You might laugh, but anyone who owns horses knows these are invaluable for stuffing in a wound to control bleeding (just don't let your pals see them!)

    Never, ever operate a poorly maintained chainsaw, if your ill or on medication, overheated or fatigued. It only takes a fraction of a second.....

  2. #2

    Join Date
    Jun 2003
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    Central California Foothills
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    Kubota 3410

    Default Re: Chainsaw safety

    "It only takes a fraction of a second . . "

    Hey, Gsganzer, you are probably referring to me - the guy who had the accident the other day, and boy oh boy don't I know just how quickly it can all happen. I was planning to make way for a circular drive way, and where I was going to put a culvert, in a ravine, there were also two large oak trees. I was going to be able to leave the trees and route the road between them, but had to do some serious branch work - and these were large - up high but hanging very low branches I had to take out in order to make room for a road and traffic. some of the branches were 12" plus, and most from 6 to 10". I wanted to get it cleared up so the dozer driver could see what I wanted done (in the end he did not show up). What is interesting, is that I saw the risk. I was up about 15-20 feet, and took some time to figure out the best way to take out a large (10") branch - I placed myself where the risk would be minimized, and selected a cutting place on the branch calculated so it would not swing my way. I thought carefully about how to take it out for about 10 minutes - considering all that I thought could happen and was concerned because I would be high up on a ladder. But then I proceeded. All went well, except that the large branch - due to the weight of side branches - twisted when it fell and hit my ladder causing me to have to react to catch balance and with chain saw in one hand and another hand trying to keep from falling - well it was very fast - one second I was sawing, the next nanosecond I was trying to catch my balance and had no control over anyting. Felt no pain whatsoever, chain saw fell all the way down, and it was not until I saw blood - lots of blood flowing like a river from a very wide wound that I even knew I cut myself. IT COULD HAVE BEEN SO MUCH WORSE. The very first thing I thought of was that I was alone - no one around, so pulled off my shirt and wrapped the wound, went to the house to wash in cold water, but profuse bleeding so wrapped it up tightly and jumped in truck and headed down the hill. Lucky to find volunteer firemen - having a function next to highway - who gave me first aid - then I went to town to hospital and stitches. . . Later when I had to cut an even larger branch down, from about 20 feet up - about half of the tree actually, I spent a long time figuring it out, and cut it half way and went away, in about 30 minutes the weight brought it down and then I was able to cut it up from the ground. You just cannot be too careful. I was probably an inch away and a second away from a disaster. Luck was all that prevented it. I have a nice scar, but wife said I was too pretty anyway and needed a scar or two.


  3. #3

    Join Date
    May 2001
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    336
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    Summerside, OH
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    NH TC33D; RTV900; Gravely Professional

    Default Re: Chainsaw safety

    Ron--

    Thanks for sharing the story. From now on, whenever I think "hey, I could just run the extension ladder up the trunk and cut that branch, and everything'd probably be ok" I'll think about your incredibly close call -- and won't do it. Thank heavens you're ok!!

  4. #4
    Veteran Member Slamfire's Avatar
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    Mar 2002
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    Coker Creek, TN
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    Mitsubishi D 1800

    Default Re: Chainsaw safety

    I refuse to carry an gas engine chain saw off the ground. The electrics STOP when you let go of the trigger. [img]/forums/images/graemlins/cool.gif[/img]

  5. #5
    Super Star Member Egon's Avatar
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    Nova Scotia, Canada

    Default Re: Chainsaw safety

    One can always engage the "anti kickback brake" when carrying the saw. I do this at times.

    Egon

  6. #6
    Platinum Member
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    Aug 2001
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    Winchester, New Hampshire
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    Kubota L3000

    Default Re: Chainsaw safety

    This story is a good reminder for all, glad you are here to tell it. Tree limbs can be just as dangerous
    even if you are not using a chainsaw to cut them off, the ladder is the biggest danger. If you do have
    to use a ladder to cut limbs any bigger than 2 inches in diameter tie the top of the ladder to the tree.

    The branch you cut off if done wrong can hit the ground and swing around and take out the bottom of
    the ladder and send you to the ground even if you are using a hand saw. The under cut you make first
    on the branch is as important as the top cut placement. An undercut close to the trunk and a top cut
    about a half inch beyond that sends the branch to the ground almost flat or parallel to the ground.
    An undercut about an 2 inches from the trunk with the top cut on the trunk side of the bottom cut will
    allow the branch to rotate some before the tip heads for the ground.

    When the tip hits the ground the heavy part of the branch has to get to the ground and can spring
    around depending on how it hits the ground. One trick is to tie a rope a ways out on the
    branch to be cut and run it back up over a higher strong branch down to the ground. As you cut the
    branch off the person on the ground can let the branch down gently. Just make sure the person out
    weights the branch, a friend of mine almost lost his wife that way.

    Becareful out there.
    Randy

  7. #7

    Default Re: Chainsaw safety

    Another tip is know when to bring in the pros.
    Not only are you saving possible risk to yourself, but also to your property -- if it's going to hit the house, fence, pool, etc. etc. if you don't cut it exactly right, get someone who can put the tree right where it needs to go.

    If you have to put a ladder up against the tree, you should be re-thinking. Having one hand on the saw and the other on the ladder, worrying about footing while cutting etc. is simply the wrong way to do it. Get an arborist who does climbing or uses a bucket truck. My brother has done it for years and I've simply learned from watching him there's the right way and wrong way. When climbing, the person cutting is strapped to the tree w/ two hands free to deal w/ the saw. They have a clip on the side of the belt to hang the saw w/ chain brake on and it's out of the way leaving both hands again for climbing. When they cut, they can go above the limb, cut it off (with two hands and better footing than any ladder setup), and gravity will never allow the limb to endanger the cutter. On a ladder way too much can go wrong and you're asking for trouble.

    Obviously on a bucket truck it's even easier because you don't have to climb -- but bucket trucks can not always reach the tree area hence climbing is a great skill for an arborist to possess.

    When things are really tight, a crane can be used to cut pieces of the tree and haul them straight up and out of the way. Coolest thing was watching the crew cut a tree where every piece was hoisted straight up right over the house and out to the street to be cut up and fed to the chipper. This was the only way to remove the subject tree.

    Anyways -- point is think really well before getting creative on how to take a tree down. What's worth more to you -- $200.00 or your thumb, hand, face, leg, falling and getting paralized (spelling?) etc. etc. I used this thinking recently and had my bro come in for the tree next to the fence and some storm damage that was way too high for my liking [img]/forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif[/img]

    -Eric from Massachusetts

  8. #8
    Epic Contributor Soundguy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Chainsaw safety

    </font><font color="blue" class="small">( (check the KK manual, website, pictures, advertising, etc... and I think you'll find multiple ways "they" (KK) assembled that A-frame... ) )</font>

    Funny but true! I'n every vehicle I drive, I keep a roll of vetwrap and an inexpensive rope horse lead. Has come in handy a few times. Twice in the last 2 years I've come up on a scene of a wreck involving livestock or horse trailers. Both times authorities / frantic owners were more than happy to see motorists with animal experience stop and round up disoriented and frightened animals wandering around streets/traffic.

    P.S. ... Another goody that most horse / large animal owner know. When you hurt youself in the barn, the first thing you reach for is usually the first thing you also reach for when your animals hurt themselfs... iodine spray, or scarlet oil, etc.. then the vetwrap bandage....

    Soundguy

  9. #9
    Super Star Member
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    JD 4700

    Default Re: Chainsaw safety

    monkeybreath,

    TBN is pysche sometimes.

    There is an older guy here at work who walks with a cane.
    Until yesterday I did not know why.

    He climbed a ladder to cut a limb with a chainsaw. Something
    happened and the saw cut his foot. This was many years
    ago. His foot has not been right since then. His limp has
    gotten much worse and when I found out about this yesterday
    he was talking about how his hips are starting to hurt. He
    leans heavily on a cane.

    I saw him this morning in obvious pain sitting on a tall trash
    can because his hip(s) and foot where hurting so bad. He
    just had to take a break before walking on. [img]/forums/images/graemlins/blush.gif[/img] VERY sad
    to see. There is nothing else wrong with this guy but that
    accident is putting him through a world of hurt years after it
    happened.

    Found out another guy at work had another chainsaw and
    ladder run in. Not as bad as the other guy.

    Be careful out there guys....
    Dan McCarty

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