Safety and your chainsaw: Chaps, helmets and other tips to keep you sawing safely

Chainsaws are a notoriously dangerous tool, but recent innovations and safety tips can keep you operating your chainsaw without fear of imminent injury. Much of chainsaw safety can be learned through common sense and general power tool precautions, though there are a few specialized items that can make things a little bit easier.

When using a chainsaw (or any power tool, for that matter), you should make sure to dress appropriately. Do not wear loose clothing, scarves or jewelry, as they could get caught up in the saw by accident. If you have long hair, you should secure it with a hair tie or clip as well. Wear protective shoes such as steel-toed work boots that will help you maintain traction on any surface. Ear, eye and head protection is a must; you can purchase a helmet, safety goggles and earmuffs separately if you like. Alternatively, many chainsaw operators prefer an all-in one helmet and earmuffs with face shield. Either way, you want to make sure your facie is fully protected from flying debris and bits so that you can see what you are doing and avoid injury at the same time.

Heavy-duty work gloves will help you maintain a good grip on your chainsaw, and a good pair of chainsaw safety chaps will help keep your legs protected. Kevlar chainsaw chaps are pricey but will protect you from all kinds of debris and may be life-saving if you lose control of your chainsaw. However, chaps are made of many materials, including polyester, nylon or cotton. Whatever material you choose, make sure that it is flame retardant, since you will be dealing with tools that require frequent use of gas and oil. Additionally, read a chainsaw chaps review or two to determine the right style and material for you so you don't end up wasting money on a set of chaps that won't work in your environment.

Safe operation

The best way to prevent injury is to know how to properly use your chainsaw. Always start your chainsaw on the ground, far away from any flammable fuels. Starting the chainsaw on the ground helps to protect you from the force of start-up and will help you spot a malfunction before the chainsaw is in your hands. Always use your chain brake when moving between job locations or shutting down. If you can, opt for a chainsaw with an automatic chain break function. These are pricey, but the added safety feature can be more than worth the investment.

Kickback is one of the leading causes of injury due to chainsaw operation, but it is easily preventable. Kickback typically occurs when the tip of the chainsaw comes into contact with an object. The force of the rapidly moving chain propels the chainsaw away from the object instead of cutting through it. You can prevent kickback by making sure you approach your cut with the entire chainsaw bar and not just the tip. Some chainsaws come with special mechanisms that help to prevent kickback, but many models rely on you to make a proper cut instead. Some chainsaws come equipped with a mechanism that triggers the chain brake when kickback is sensed. This may be a great option if you are new to chainsaw operation and want a little extra safety built in to your saw.

Chainsaw and power tool safety is simple when you have the right equipment and knowledge. Whether you are looking for an all-in-one helmet, chainsaw chaps or a new saw with extra safety features, you are sure to find what you need at Sears.


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