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Chainsaws. Preparing to operate chainsaw. Check over chainsaw for faults. Ensure adequate fuel/oil for the task. Check chain tension (adjust as required). Check sharpness of cutters (sharpen using correct sized round file).
ChainsawsPreparing to operate chainsaw
  • Check over chainsaw for faults.
  • Ensure adequate fuel/oil for the task.
  • Check chain tension (adjust as required).
  • Check sharpness of cutters (sharpen using correct sized round file).
  • Check rakers are at correct depth (file with correct sized flat file).
  • Correct PPE? Helmet/ear defenders/visor and eye protection/chainsaw trousers/chainsaw boots/chainsaw gloves/non-snag clothing/long hair tied back.
  • Site hazards – Risk Assessment
  • Escape routes.
  • Plan of work.
  • Pre-start checks on a chainsaw
  • Correct PPE.
  • Check saw for faults (loose bolts/screws etc.).
  • Safety features.
  • Chain/guide bar.
  • Fuel/oil.
  • Daily maintenance
  • Chain tension.
  • Chain sharpness.
  • Depth gauges.
  • Guide bar groove/oil holes/burrs.
  • Tightness of nuts/bolts/screws.
  • Operation of chain brake.
  • Air filter.
  • Spark plug.
  • Recoil starter spring.
  • Correct fuel mixture (50:1).
  • Clean debris from around fins, clutch etc.
  • Exhaust.
  • Cold Start Techniques
  • Place saw on firm, level ground.
  • Grip front handle firmly, with foot on rear hand guard.
  • Turn ignition switch on.
  • Engage choke lever.
  • Grip starter cord and pull sharply.
  • Once saw ‘coughs’, push in choke lever.
  • Pull starter cord to fire up saw.
  • Rev saw and check operation of chain brake.
  • Check saw oiling correctly.
  • Check chain does not ‘creep’ when idling – adjust chain tension or carburettor settings so chain is stationary.
  • Warm Start Techniques
  • Once saw is ‘warm’, re-start by gripping saw between knees, or place on ground and start as with cold start technique, but without choke.
  • Do not use ‘yo-yo’ technique as unsafe.
  • Re-fuelling
  • Re-fuel at location determined during site safety briefing (within designated work area, but clear from ‘drop zone’ etc.).
  • Clean debris/sawdust from around fuel caps before un-doing and removing.
  • Correctly mixed fuel should be stored in a labelled 5 litre plastic fuel container, with a non-spill pouring spout.
  • It is recommended to use a ‘spill tray’, to prevent contamination/pollution of the site.
  • Re-fuel chainsaw and re-fit fuel cap securely.
  • Top-up oil reservoir with appropriate chain oil and re-fit cap securely.
  • Check chainsaw for loose bolts, chain tension, chain sharpness etc.
  • Chainsaw Safety FeaturesChainsaw Safety FeaturesSafety Features of a Chainsaw
  • Clearly marked on/off switch.
  • Chain catcher.
  • Chain Brake/Front Hand Guard.
  • Chain Breakage Guard (chain-catcher).
  • Rear hand guard.
  • Exhaust pointing away from operator.
  • Safety Labels.
  • Anti-vibration rubbers.
  • Safety Throttle.
  • Guide bar cover (sheath) for transportation.
  • Chain/bar combinations to reduce kickback.
  • Chainsaw Safety FeaturesDefinition of terms
  • Snedding: removal of lateral branches from a conifer tree, using the smooth, flowing technique as used in NPTC assessment.
  • De-limbing: removal of lateral branches from a hardwood tree during breaking down of the crown (tension/compression reducing cuts etc.)
  • Tools to assist felling and cross-cutting operations
  • Plastic wedges
  • Hi-lift aluminium wedges
  • Steel wedges
  • Felling/turning bar
  • Timber tongs
  • Pull ropes
  • Hand winches
  • Hazards associated with tree felling operations
  • Falling debris (deadwood, hanging branches, hung-up trees).
  • Splitting stems (Barber’s Chair).
  • Trunk springing back when top hits ground.
  • Trunk rolling sideways (stand on upper side when cross-cutting).
  • Branches under tension/compression (spring back or trapping saw).
  • Tripping over debris (engage chain brake when moving around).
  • Kickback when operating chainsaw.
  • Flying debris getting in eyes (sawdust etc.)
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