Chainsaw Use

Chainsaw Use

When operating a gardening business you may from time to time be asked to cut down trees or at the very least cut some branches from a tree that overhangs a house or a neighbour’s fence. A client may also ask you to cut up some existing branches or garden debris as fire wood.

Such tasks can most easily be undertaken using a chainsaw, however it is important to remember that chainsaws are potentially dangerous machines which can cause major injury if used by untrained people. Anyone who uses a chainsaw at work should have received adequate training and be competent in using a chainsaw for that type of work. Always consult the HSE for the latest up-to-date guidelines.

In the UK it is illegal to use a chainsaw without an appropriate qualification on another person’s property for profit. The minimum qualification needed to operate a chainsaw is a CS30; this is typically a 2 day course which covers basic chainsaw maintenance and cross-cutting of logs on the ground.

Some key points to remember when using a chainsaw:

Proper maintenance is essential for safe use; your saw should be serviced regularly by a competent person.

The saw must be maintained in its manufactured condition with all safety devices in efficient working order and all guards in place.

Suitable personal protective equipment (PPE) which complies with current safety standards should be used at all times when operating a saw.

Always carry a personal first aid kit when using a saw; it is recommended that all operators undertake first aid training.

Always check your chainsaw before starting and at regular intervals throughout the day.

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Ensure that a risk assessment has been carried out and recorded on the site.

Try to avoid working alone; if you must work alone, ensure that somebody is able to check on you at regular intervals; as a minimum your contact should be informed of start and finish times.

The HSE’s Arboriculture and Forestry Advisory Group has produced a comprehensive set of leaflets on safe working practice for forestry and arboricultural operations. Single free copies of the leaflets are available by mail order from HSE Books, PO Box 1999, Sudbury, Suffolk, CO10 2WA Tel: 01787 881 165 or downloaded from .

Further advice is also available from the following Trade Associations:

Arboricultural Association, Ampfield House, Ampfield, Romsey, Hampshire, SO51 9PA Tel: 01794 368 717

Forestry Contracting Association Ltd, 1B Market Place, Pickering, North Yorkshire, YO18 7AA Tel: 08700 421 110