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.
© Copyright 2010 Forest Applications Training, Inc.