Cutting firewood? Learn to do it safely at free workshop


With shorter days and cooler mornings, building that first fire in the woodstove cannot be far behind. For some of us, that means pulling out that chain saw and spending a day in the forest cutting firewood.

Operating a chain saw is inherently hazardous, but potential injuries can be minimized by using proper personal protective equipment and safe operating procedures.

The following information is provided by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration:

Before starting a chain saw:

• Check controls, chain tension and all bolts and handles to ensure that they are functioning properly and that they are adjusted according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

• Make sure that the chain is always sharp and the lubrication reservoir is full.

• Start the saw on the ground or on another firm support. Drop starting is never allowed.

• Start the saw at least 10 feet from the fueling area, with the chain’s brake engaged.

Fueling a chain saw

• Use approved containers for transporting fuel to the saw.

• Dispense fuel at least 10 feet away from any sources of ignition when performing construction activities. No smoking during fueling.

• Use a funnel or a flexible hose when pouring fuel into the saw.

• Never attempt to fuel a running or hot saw.

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