Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Taking a Stand

Taking a Stand

By Tim Ard, Forest Applications Training Inc.

It is always very hard to do- to stand up for something we believe in. Well, your safety when working with a chain saw depends on a very firm stand. Your stand- and you had better believe it! When you pick up a chain saw you are wielding a very powerful tool. Its rotating, sharp cutting attachment is capable of slicing and dicing just about any material it comes in contact with, especially operator's parts. So when you pick one up- you must take a stand, one you are certain is solid and stable. Take note of the following...

Don't Over Extend- The fatigue process begins immediately when you pick up a chain saw. The saw's weight alone seems to multiply when you hold it in a correct position. When you extend the weight outward or upward, the weight tends to multiply as muscle fatigue begins. It doesn't take long, so make sure your stance is strong and correct from the first chip.

Understand Your Opponent- The reactive forces of Push Back, Pull In and Kick Back are common on all sizes of chain saws. Know these forces and their locations on your saw. Your operator’s manual should be your first source of information regarding these forces and proper maintenance of your chain saw equipment.

Defensive Approach- When you begin to make a cut with a chain saw you must remember the reactive forces and their ability to knock you off your stand. Realize your responsibility is to combat the reactions of these opponents. For example, when the saw pushes back; your stand must maintain balance and control.

Secure Your Stand- Before you depress the throttle and rev the chain saw for a cut, make sure your stance is considering the reactive forces and ready for action. Both feet should be positioned to complete the work. You shouldn't move your position unless the saw chain is at idle or in some situations, the bar and idling chain are on an opposite side of the log from you. Trips and falls can cause cuts and bruises, so limiting movement removes some potential for injury.

Plan Your Stand- Remember that often times the material you are cutting can be under pressure. The severed piece can roll, flip up or down, or even rapidly shoot back toward you when you cut through it. Because of this potential for attack, step back if necessary, make a thorough plan, understanding what could happen before you cut. Proceeding too quickly or without a complete plan can result in an unplanned event- an accident.

Parking in Place- Just as in parking a car or truck, you can apply your saw's chain brake to make sure the chain doesn't roll unless you are in control. When starting the saw and also when moving more than a step or two, lock the chain brake.

Wear Protective Equipment- It is sometimes warm and uncomfortable but it is so important to wear a Hardhat, Safety Glasses, Face Screen, Gloves, Saw Chaps or Pants, and make sure you have good heavy duty Boots. Boots with good traction soles, shank and ankle support should be part of your selection process. Some occupations require boots with chain saw resistance built into them. Waterproof design is also an asset for many tasks. Anyway you want to look at it, PPE is important. Boots are especially important to your stance.

For more information questions can be emailed to info@ForestApps.com Visit www.ForestApps.com for articles and information on topics of chain saw safety, applications and operations.

© Copyright 2010 Forest Applications Training, Inc.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Strong, Stabile Oak's

Strong, Stabile Oak's

By Tim Ard, Forest Applications Training Inc.

I have said it before that it amazes me the connections that have been afforded me across this country all because of chain saws. I have learned so much from the chain saw and the people who operate them.

Over the past few weeks the electronic world of communication, Twitter, has connected me with new friends. I have been a fan of Joe Bonsall and the Oak Ridge Boys since the middle 80's. My ORB contact, Joe Bonsall, began his career with the group in 1973. He is a man who enjoys working with a chain saw around his farm in Tennessee. He is an awesome tenor, a well-read author (his books are available from all the major outlets), and a performer with a greater purpose. When I learned that he uses a saw a good bit on his farm projects, I sent some things to keep Joe and his chainsaw in good shape. We have chatted back and forth on Twitter about his saw and his constant travel schedule on the bus.

Laura and I were able to catch up to the Oaks at their show in Wheeling, WV. We sent a Tweet and were able to meet Joe and had the opportunity to talk with him a while in the afternoon and then to attend the concert that night. In our conversations we covered topics of chainsaws, pets (he loves cats more than Laura does cats and dogs I think) safety in our work and travels on the road, family, the group and how he and others in the Oaks have and are dealing with life. We discussed how the music industry has changed and a lot about other artists they had met and worked with. I started thinking during the conversations, there is a lot of similarity in the music business and the chain saw training business.

You see the Oak Ridge Boys have been performing for years since the 40’s. The current members came together with the latest addition of Joe Bonsall to the group in 1973. The group began as a Gospel Group and received a lot of flack for branching out to country music. They have kept their roots however firmly planted and stabile in their committed message. Like talking safety to people who don’t want to hear it, the Oaks have taken the Gospel portion of their heritage and performances to casinos, clubs, fair’s and places that most Gospel groups would never set foot into. They’ve made it big in country music but they haven’t severed their strong, stabile Oak’s roots of their history.

Hits like Elvira, Thank God for Kids, Bobbie Sue, Trying to Love Two Women have given them the opportunity to go and share their wares at some of the largest music gatherings. They have performed for several of the U.S. Presidents and other country dignitaries too. They are even adding a few current music styles to their performances to keep the ear of the younger generation. Yes, Strong, Stabile Oak Roots and still lifting the branches up and out… The Oak Ridge Boys are the only 35-year plus country group out there that are just as interested in their peers and their ability to prosper to satisfy the music fans. Legendary!

During the show performance I was watching and now understanding, how the group had planned the event to the point of perfection all for their audience. The group, including the musicians, from the moment the lights came up, was striving to get their emotions and message in song through to those watching and listening. They felt the needs and response of the audience with a couple songs and then began to make sure the audience was with them totally. Flawlessly they weaved the roots and grew the evening to a standing ovation. They accomplished their plan.

Those of you who know me are aware there are three things that mean a lot to me, yes, actually other than chainsaws. It is my relationship with God, my family, and music. The Oak's maintain strength in all of those areas well. Thanks Joe and ORB for allowing me to step into your training world.

Twitter @OakRidgeBoys

Chain Saw Training sessions for storm work and clean up should contain the same desire for accomplishment and reaching the attendees. Important is the information of equipment, tools and technique; also the attendees must feel the instructors desire and passion in the subject. Forest Applications Training is dedicated to the example.

For more information in designing a chain saw training program for you or your organization email info@forestapps.com or visit www.forestapps.com

© Copyright 2010 Forest Applications Training, Inc.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Chap Works...

Chap Works…

By Tim Ard, Forest Applications Training, Inc.

I can remember back in the early nineties when I was preparing for a training program in West Virginia. Ed Murriner of WV Forestry, at that time, and I, were discussing the use of PPE in the state among professional operators. The first demonstrations for the Logger Certification Program there, we had huge turnouts, but we had very few show up with hardhats. I asked how many used hardhats on the job. Very few hands went up. When I asked how many used saw chaps, I had even fewer hands raised.

I also remember calling around and asking if there were any records of sales, from three different manufacturer/suppliers of chaps, shipped to WV. The report was less than 150 pairs. I could have carried every pair of chaps sold in WV, to that date, in the back of my S10 Blazer. I would have to say, in my opinion, that most of those were probably used by and belonged to the Forest Service in the state.

One thing the OSHA regulations did shortly after that time in history, for the private sector of businesses, was to enforce and excite the purchase of leg protection. The OSHA requirement (OSHA 1910.266) of chain saw leg protection (chaps) has definitely saved a lot of chain saw cuts to operators.

Saw Chaps are working today for many, many chain saw operators and especially the USFS. The US Forest Service has been religiously requiring and using saw chaps for many years. They were the first organization to really push the issue to their workers and volunteers in fire service.

I recently read the 2010 Gransfors BruksSwedePro catalog, which showed chain saw injury statistics, compiled by the Consumer Products Safety Commission for the year 2008. They are showing 27,170 incidents in 2008, 11,904 of them were to the legs.

The breakdown:

Head 1,786

Upper body. 816

Arms and hands. 11,107

Legs. 11,904

Feet 1,557

PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) is so important for part time and full time operators of chain saws. It’s the cheapest insurance you can buy for chain saw use. It’s not going to eliminate all accidents and incidents but it sure can lessen an injury if one occurs. Remember, an accident is an unplanned event. No one in their right mind plans an accident! I can tell you also from my discussions with operators across the country that experience is a great teacher but it doesn’t always mean a lot should you miss something in the planning process and something unplanned happens.

I was so pleased when I received a copy of this message from the USFS Region 6 Health and Safety Chain Saw Specialist (THE U.S. Chain Saw Boss) Winston Rall.

Good morning all,

We have had a large number of "chap cuts" this year and the good news is that chaps work and we have had no injuries. On the other hand we need to be aware that when PPE is damaged it is the last line of defense from injury and that we need to look at what actions led up to that damage.

It is the busiest time of the year but let's take the time and ask our instructors and crew leaders to conduct tailgate sessions specific to avoiding saw contact with legs before the next project requiring saw work.

Here are some contributing actions to the chap cuts that we have had to cover in those tailgates.


Winston Rall

R6 Health & Safety

Here are some things to reduce the number of cut chaps

·   TThe chain is stopped and brake set before resting saw on leg.

·      Do not cut over extended left leg.

·      Be aware of fatigue. Hydration, work rest cycles.

·      Working distances. Two arms length between swamper and sawyer.

·      Saw weight to body strength.

·      Proper bar length for the task

·      Proper chap size and fit

Then I received another message with some additional comments from the field… Dan Peterson, Safety and Occupational Health Specialist USDA Forest Service Region 8 & 9

·      Using the chain brake when taking more than 2 steps

·      Only stepping or moving feet forward with the brake on or saw bar on opposite side or top of tree/log when limbing

·      Stance when brushing/limbing so legs are reasonably safe distance from guide bar

·      Reviewing kickbacks and how it can happen while limbing/bucking/felling and cause the bar to contact the chaps/legs or feet

I want to say thank you to Mr. Rall and Mr. Peterson for allowing me to reprint this super information. It’s a great testimony to the effectiveness of PPE and it’s also important info for many of you to realize that Saw Chaps can work for you too. In this case, every cut chap represents less pain and suffering for the operator, their coworkers and their families.

If you do not have PPE to use… buy it! The Professionals and Volunteers of the USFS use it and it pays!

For more information on Chain Saw Chaps, Cutting Pants, other PPE and Training visit the Forest Applications Training, Inc. website http://www.forestapps.com and look over the items available through our endorsed manufacturers. Purchasing Links are available through our eStore too…

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Chain Saw Injuries

Listed for 2008


Head 1,786
Upper body. 816
Arms and hands. 11,107
Legs. 11,904
Feet 1,557

US consumer products safety commission.

Info taken from Gransfors Bruks SwedePro 2010 catalog

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Monday, August 9, 2010

Run Check....

Run Check

By Tim Ard, Forest Applications Training, Inc.

How should a saw perform once it is started? What do you look for to make sure it is going to run and do the Job you need it to?

Five areas to check out to make sure the saw is performing as it is designed:

1. Clean Air Filter - you must make sure the chainsaw nose (filter) is breathing properly. If the filter is restricted the airflow for proper adjustment will be low and cause smoking, low power and poor running results.

2. High Speed Levels to Flutter - let the saw warm to running temperature before attempting to determine if high-speed settings are correct. This will take a couple minutes or so after starting to accomplish. Then hold the saw at wide-open throttle for a few seconds. The rpm should come up to a full throttle position and then level off. It sounds kind of like a flutter or a slight blubbering tone. The flutter sound must be in any two cycle high speed run to make sure you have sufficient lubrication and fuel for the engine. A digital tachometer can be used to check if the run is set to design parameters suggested by the manufacturer. A tachometer will only tell you when an engine is in adjustment - it won't however tell you when it's out of adjustment. An engine can show within the design a maximum RPM setting thats within specification but can have an air leak or other engine problem and can still be running in a lean state. That's where the operator must understand a two-cycle flutter and make sure the saw at top end is fluttering. If not major damage to the engine can and most likely will take place. The high-speed setting is done with the H screw on the carburetor.

3. Chain Stops at Idle - now bring the engine back to idle for the next observation. We want to make sure that the engine is at idle for a couple reasons. The first is safety because you do not want to be walking around with a chainsaw where the chain doesn't stop turning at idle. This also indicates that the engine is idling low enough, if the saw chain stops, to disengage the clutch mechanism and let the low speed fuel circuits in the carburetor take over. When the chain turns at idle you adjust the T or LA screw to raise or lower the RPM to disengage the clutch.

4. Idles In All Positions - now that the chain is stopped and the saw is at idle, the saw should idle in all positions until it runs out of fuel. If the saw is getting too much fuel at idle it will puddle up in the crankcase area and as soon as you roll it over it will flood the port and the engine will stall. The L screw on the carburetor adjusts this scenario. In this case you would close the screw slightly clockwise to reduce the fuel flow.

5. Accelerates Without Hesitation - next the acceleration should be checked. Open the throttle quickly and the RPM should come up without hesitation. If the engine hesitates before quickly rising to wide-open throttle, the L screw on the carburetor should be opened counter-clockwise to allow more fuel flow. It takes fuel to create the power to rotate the engine.

You should remember that you could damage the saw engine quickly if you do not run it properly adjusted. I hear often that supervisors and shops do not want the operator to have access to a screwdriver, nor to adjust the screws. They state that they don't want the saw blown-up from someone who doesn't know how to properly adjust the screws. I agree, but I have said for years that I think I see as many saws and trimmers blown up from lack of adjustment as I have adjustment. If the operator doesn't know when it is out of adjustment they just run it. You do not have to have a screwdriver yourself however to adjust the saw. If you know when it is out of adjustment you can simply take it to someone who does.

Think about - anytime you turn a carburetor screw to the right, clockwise, you take a chance of causing engine damage. You remove fuel and lubrication with a clockwise turn of the screw.

Operators should all be aware of how to check the run of any two-cycle piece of equipment. If they are going to work safely and productively with the machine it must be in tune...

More information on carburetor adjustment can be found in our ForestApps eBook available from www.BarnesandNoble.com and from the eStore at www.ForestApps.com .

Check out the articles on carburetion and fuel under the info/articles link on the homepage. Good Sawing...

© Copyright 2010 Forest Applications Training, Inc.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Hardwood Whups...

Spring Poles – Hardwood Whups….
By Tim Ard, Forest Applications Training, Inc.

Down South they often call it SmellWood. They come so close to your nose sometimes you can smell the wood. Too often however, chain saw operators are surprised by them and they cause injury. They can pack a powerful punch. Spring Poles, Whips, Whups, whatever the name you give them they are dangerous!

The following is an excerpt from the Forest Applications eBook. More information on this subject and other chain saw techniques can be found at www.forestapps.com

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