With the snow banks melting in the Northeast comes the requisite spring clean-up around the property. If your facility includes even a little wooded property, that clean-up will most likely include some quality time with your chainsaw. Regardless of your skill level, it’s critical that you are aware of the hazards you will face and have the skills to manage them successfully; or recognize that you don’t and obtain additional resources from your employer. These resources may take the form of gear upgrades, more help, or additional training.
The OSHA standard for logging operations (1910.266) sets the baseline standards for all chainsaw operations. It is very specific about training, supervision, and operational guidelines. Some very practical information is available on their website, specifically the Logging ETool.
For basic chainsaw operation, I’ve divided the necessary information into three categories. MEMIC has developed webinars and guiding documents for each of these topics. All are available on the Safety Director at www.memic.com.
- A full compliment of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).
- A saw maintained in serviceable condition.
- Some baseline knowledge of industry standards which address: hazards, ergonomics, saw control and physics. (Refer to the Logging ETool referenced above.)
Specific hands-on training should be attended and operations closely supervised in regards to the most hazardous chainsaw operations, tree felling, and storm damage clean-up.
If you consider the tools and equipment you’ll use during outdoor projects, I think you’d agree that the chainsaw may create the greatest hazard. Take the time to get it right as the stakes are high when the accident involves a chainsaw, trees under tension, and gravity.