As a superintendent, you juggle many responsibilities, and the safety of your crew is right at the top of the list. Your team works around sources of hazardous energy daily, posing risks of electric shocks, entanglement, and faulty combustion engines. In fact, nearly 10% of serious accidents in the workplace are a result of the
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
- Eye protection
- Long sleeves
- 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.
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