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Chain-Saw Basics

Chain saws are powerful and dangerous tools. Always keep safety in mind when using a chain saw.

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The chain saw is the most popular power tool in the United States -- and the most dangerous. Emergency rooms report more injuries from chain saws than from any other power tool. When using a chain saw, make sure always to take proper safety precautions.

Several accessories can help protect you when you're using a chain saw, including:

  • Special shirts and pants have padding that provides some protection from flying debris and from the chain saw itself.
  • Gloves with rubber padding are essential for protecting your hands.
  • Earplugs should be worn to protect your ears from the loud noise a chain saw generates.
  • Safety glasses are perhaps the most important safety accessory because debris often flies toward the user's face.
  • Helmets with built-in earmuffs and a built-in face guard combine three safety features in one.
  • Boots with steel toes should be worn to protect your feet.

The following safety rules must be followed when you use a chain saw:

  • Always work uphill from the log you're cutting so that if the log rolls, you'll be out of its way.
  • Never cut objects above your head.
  • Most chain-saw injuries are caused by kickback of the blade. To avoid kickback, never cut with the upper quadrant of the blade -- the area most likely to cause kickback.