Chain saws are very powerful, and in untrained hands, they can be extremely dangerous. If a saw can cut through a tree trunk, it can cut just as easily through an arm or a leg. Thus, it’s extremely important that all employees are properly trained to use chainsaws, and that they are aware and constantly reminded of chain saw safety measures.

In order to avoid accidents and ensure that chain saws are used safely at your club, you need to ensure proper use and maintenance.

Chain Saw Use

Before using a chain saw, the employee should be properly trained on how to use the chain saw. Specific usage instructions will vary by brand and by saw, so the user should always read and follow the operator’s manual for each specific chain saw.

Although usage varies, the following are general chain saw use guidelines:

  • Inspect the chain saw before use
  • Engage the chain brake when transporting or not in use
  • Place on the ground to start it – never drop-start it
  • Disengage the brake when saw is ready to be used
  • Stay alert while cutting
  • Do not leave chain saw unattended
  • Make sure no people are near when using the saw

Inspection is a big part of chainsaw safety. When inspecting the saw, users should check the control, bolts, handles, chain tension and chain sharpness. The conditions should be measured against the specific saw’s operator’s manual.

The on/off switches should work, and be clearly marked. The chain brake should be adjusted and functioning properly. The chain should have the tension defined in the operator’s manual, it should be lubricated, and sharp.

Fueling a Chain Saw

Fueling a chain saw can also be very dangerous, so make sure that workers are aware of how to properly fuel the chainsaw, and that they follow these general guidelines:

  • Only use approved containers to transport fuel
  • DO NOT smoke during or near fueling
  • Use a funnel or hose to pour fuel
  • Always let the saw cool down before fueling
  • You’re in the grass growing business, never fuel on the grass


As with most golf course maintenance activities, PPE must ALWAYS be worn, including:

  • Helmet system with head, face and ear protection
  • Steel toed boots
  • Gloves
  • Eye protection
  • Long sleeves
  • Pants
  • Cut proof leg chaps/pants

In addition, chain saw users should avoid wearing loose fitting clothing and jewelry, as it may get caught in moving parts.

Aside from wearing PPE, it’s important that workers are aware and alert of their actions and their surroundings. They should be reminded to pay attention and always work with caution.

Before beginning chain saw operation, it’s important to clear away any object, dirt or debris that may be in the saw’s path. Among the biggest causes of chain saw accidents are trips and falls, so everything from small tree limbs, rocks and other equipment should be cleared. This gives the operator a “Clear Escape Path” to exit the area when felling a tree or if things go wrong.

Chain Saw Use

General rules to follow when using chain saws include:

  • Never use the saw alone, have a coworker stand by
  • Always hold the saw with two hands
  • Stand to the left of the chainsaw
  • Do not lift the saw above shoulder level
  • Always engage the brake if not cutting
  • Keep legs shoulder width apart
  • Keep a slight bend at the knees
  • Do not let tip of the bar come in contact with the wood
  • Decrease and slowly ease off the pressure when you are close to ending the cut
  • Do not let the tip of the guide bar contact the surface

These are general rules to follow when using chain saws, but each saw is different and the operator’s manual is always the main source of information for safety and usage instructions specific to that chainsaw.

The best way to keep your golf course and workplace safe is to make sure that all team members are aware of the importance of following safety guidelines, and that they are properly informed and trained on safety procedures.


to subscribe to our newsletter, get free safety posters and more safety resources! 


Cold Weather Safety on The Golf Course

When the golf offseason rolls around and winter approaches, it is essential for golf course maintenance crews to be aware of the potential hazards that come with colder temperatures and how to protect themselves. The safety of your team should always be a top priority, and taking the necessary steps to prepare for the season

Read More »

Chemical Safety in Golf Course Maintenance

Golf course facilities store several potentially hazardous chemicals such as pesticides, fertilizers, herbicides, and fungicides. That means when it comes to chemical safety in the workplace, there’s no such thing as an OVERreaction. Every one of your crew members, whether they work directly or indirectly, with chemicals, should be aware of the risks involved and

Read More »

Lightning Safety on the Golf Course

Did you know there are eight million lightning strikes worldwide, daily? Annually,100-200 people are killed by lightning strikes, with many more being injured. Golfers and golf course employees are at especially high risk when hazardous weather approaches. So how do you keep your crew safe from lightning strikes? We spoke to Brian Birney, CGCS, who

Read More »

Safety Around the Shop

Working on the golf course can be incredibly rewarding for both the superintendent and the crew, but this job doesn’t come without risks! To maintain a safe, healthy workplace with consistently high morale, you must properly inform your crew on how to avoid safety hazards. Part of that process is helping your crew understand their

Read More »

Jump Start Your Battery Maintenance: Here’s how!

On the golf course, your crew works with mowers, tractors, bunker rakes, and other utility vehicles. All of these vehicles have batteries, and just like on all devices, these batteries won’t last forever. Vehicle batteries usually last a few years, depending on how well they’re cared for. However, a minor mistake like leaving a key

Read More »

15 Items That Should Be in Your First Aid Kit

15 items that should be in your first aid kit  Accidents can happen any day, especially in golf course maintenance. Your crew is exposed to a myriad of hazards, so first aid is an essential part of your safety program. In most circumstances, it will take more than a few minutes to get medical attention

Read More »