It's that branch you just cut with your pole saw crashing to the ground, missing your foot by a little more than an inch.
This isn't your first close call. Why take a chance with fate?
Simple pole saw safety procedures can keep you safe and possibly save your life from a falling tree branch.
Check the Weather First
First, take a look outside. Is it raining or is the ground wet? Is it going to be dark soon?
It's never safe to operate while it's raining. Wet ground is also slippery which could cause you to slip, slide and fall into the pole saw or fall while operating the pole saw. This can cause injuries to you and/or damage your pole saw.
Operating your pole saw at dusk or after dark limits your view. You won't be able to clearly see if there are any obstructions around the branch you are cutting or if any branches are falling towards you.
Check Your Equipment
Before operating your pole saw you should always inspect it for damaged, loose or worn parts. Damaged or loose parts can cause your machine to not work properly increasing the risk for serious injury.
Here are a few things to inspect before operating your Pole Saw:
- Examine the saw's teeth for damage and breaks in the chain. Breaks or damaged teeth can cause the chain to snap off during use.
- Inspect the saw before operation. All nuts and bolts should be tight and not missing.
- Check the cutting head for damage or loose parts.
- Be sure the chain is sharpened prior to use. Dull blades can get stuck during a cut or break sending cutting pieces flying through the air.
- Check the chain tension before and periodically during operation. It can stretch due to temperature change and vibrations during operation.
- Check that the stop switch is properly functioning.
Protective Clothing for Pole Saw Safety
Protective clothing is usually comfortable, snug fitting to allow you to move freely and protects you from pole saw accidents. Wear the following to protect your body from falling dirt, debris, and pole saw injuries:
- Protective clearing clothes and long pants will protect your arms and legs from flying debris, dirt or pole saw mishaps.
- As you are cutting a branch and looking up, debris and wood will be falling right into your eyes. Protective glasses will protect your eyes and face from dirt and debris.
- Head and face gear will protect your head from any falling branches, large debris and dirt that could be falling your way.
- Gloves will protect your hands from dirt, debris, falling branches or chainsaw mishaps.
- Pole saws can be loud, so wear your hearing protection to protect your hearing.
- Foot protection such as reinforced steel-toed boots will keep your feet safe from falling branches.
- A pole saw harness to even the load of distribution of the pole saw when working at different heights or angles.
Is the Area Clear?
- Look for hazards in your work area and clear them before getting started. There should be no obstructions between you and the branch you are planning to cut.
- Keep all bystanders and pets at a safe distance away from your cutting area.
- Make sure you are going to be working on a flat sturdy surface that isn't muddy, rocky or uneven to avoid losing your balance.
- Position yourself in a sturdy position off to the side of the branch you will be cutting.
Plan your Cut
- Consider the size of the branch you will be cutting.
- Look for any power lines that could be in your path.
- Keep your arms close to your body to avoid branches from injuring them.
- Keep an eye on the branch as it nears the falling point and move safely out of the way if the branch is going to be falling near or on you.
Cutting any type of wood can be exciting and intimidating at the same time. If you feel that the branch you want to cut is too big, or you don't feel comfortable cutting it, consider calling in a professional. Safety is always the key when operating any kind of power equipment, especially saws. Follow these guidelines to keep you and others around you safe.
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