For details on the Treetec chainsaw courses please see our Chainsaw Course page.
Below are some commonly asked questions about chainsaw use, training and safety.
We have a lot of enquiries during chainsaw training particularly regarding the dreaded 'Kickback'. Our course covers the topic in detail however here is the story in case you're still using the chainsaw between now and the course.
A chainsaw chain travels at about 90km per hour around the guide bar, on each 'cutter link' there is the cutting tooth and just in front of it a depth gauge which ensures the tooth only cuts off about .65mm of wood as it passes over the log. Now, as these teeth go around the tip of the cutter bar (the 'Top quadrant') the teeth move down and around suddenly exposing the full height of the depth gauge to catch the wood. They are exposed completely and instead of the tooth slicing 0.65mm of timber the depth gauge may grab as much as 5mm of timber, if this happens the chain may stop moving forwards at 90kph and the guide bar will start moving up and backwards at 90kph....towards you. This can also happen if the chain gets pinched causing 'pull in' or 'push out'.
There is no stopping this reactive force with your arms, it's too quick. The chain may stop rotating around the cutter bar because of the chain break mechanism but that solid metal bar with teeth is still travelling at you with speed. If you operate with your body over the kickback line the bar can strike your neck or head.
So here are the rules:
Chainsaws present lots of risk but if you operate safely and follow some basic rules (including the ones above) they can be used easily and safely by almost anyone.
This section discusses the main hazards associated with chainsaw use.
This is a summary of the main hazards and how to reduce risk when using a chainsaw, all operators should have appropriate training and supervision, have read and understood the operators manual, be undertaking regular refreshers and, within the work group be discussing all facets of workplace risk including emergency procedures.
All chainsaws should be manufactured and maintained to be compliant with:
All chainsaws (and other equipment) must also be maintained in line with the manufacturer’s directions. Maintenance schedules and repairs must be documented.
Training & supervision
Pre Start Checks
Prior to commencing any work a JSA (Job Safety Analysis) should be undertaken, this is a pre-start check that involves the whole work crew, the JSA should be documented and signed or initialed by all workers on site. It encourages the team to discuss the hazards, builds a better safety culture and demonstrates to authorities that you are complying with OHS / WHS legislation.
Prior to using a chainsaw ensure:
PPE for Chainsaw use
Before commencing work the following PPE should be worn:
As a minimum there should be the following gear nearby when working:
Note - When operating from a bucket (Elevated Work Platform) or while climbing, drop starting is sometimes appropriate.
All chainsaw work is to be carried out in accordance with AS-2727 and the operating instructions relevant to the saw.
When using a chainsaw the chain should stop moving around the bar when the saw is idling, the chain should only start spinning once revs are increased.
Running-on is usually caused by a spring within the centrifugal clutch breaking, although it can also be the idle is set too high. When the spring breaks it allows the clutch plates to engage the clutch drum even with low revs and so casuses 'running on' and makes the saw very dangerous.
Running on is an issue that needs to be fixed promptly because if you manage the problem by engaging the chainbreak it's like driving a car with the handbrake on and you will damage or destroy the clutch.
AS 2726 Chainsaws - Safety Requirements
For more information on our courses or a quote please email, phone or complete the form below:
Phone: 03 8644 8005
Photo of reduced kickback chain
Cut to the left thigh is the most common chainsaw related injury
Classification table for the selection of hearing protection, Chainsaw operators are exposed to noise levels above 100dB.
When using a chainsaw always wear Class 4 or 5 hearing protection.
Kickback of a chainsaw is caused by contact between the upper quadrant of the cutter bar and an object.
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