A Guide To Chainsaw Best Practice


The chainsaw is the arborist’s best friend. There’s little that compares to the surge of power one feels when a chainsaw rips into action, nothing compared to the kickback of tearing into a felled tree. Chainsaws are common property in the arborist market, but safety around chainsaws is regularly limited to the wearing of personal protective equipment. We have prepared the following guide to chainsaw best practice to ensure our readers are aware of what needs to be done prior to using a chainsaw during tree surgery.

Risk Assessment Before Use Of A Chainsaw

It’s vital that a risk assessment be undertaken before use of the chainsaw happens. Risks in the environment need to be evaluated and negated before operation of a chainsaw occurs.

  • Hazards need to be identified in the area immediately surrounding the chainsaw. These could include slippery surfaces, obstructive objects, overhead power lines or loud machinery. In aerial work, hazards may include overhead branches and overall tree stability. By identifying and protecting against risks you ensure the physical and mental health of yourself and nearby people.
  • People at risk need to be identified and moved from the area surrounding the chainsaw. This may include staff, contractors or members of the public. The chainsaw operator needs to be protected too from extraneous risks present during chainsaw use.
  • Risk Assessment needs to be undertaken to evaluate the level of harm that could be caused if something goes awry. Extraneous items close to a tree may need to be removed, people shuffled along and training implemented to ensure the chainsaw is used properly during tree surgery.
  • Records of risks must be kept at all times to show that the proper safety precautions have been taken to mitigate any harm resulting from malpractice or negligence.

Employee Suitability For Chainsaw Use

It’s crucial that employers establish the fitness and suitability of a worker to use a chainsaw. It’s important to assess all employees in this regard on a regular basis. Some medical conditions may prevent some people from ever using a chainsaw, whilst others may require constant monitoring to make sure they don’t become an unacceptable risk.

Medical conditions that can affect suitability for chainsaw operation can be broken down into six distinct types:

  • Conditions affecting mobility
  • Conditions affecting alertness
  • Conditions affecting physical strength
  • Conditions affecting vision
  • Conditions affecting manual dexterity and/or grip
  • Conditions affecting balance

Training For Chainsaw Use

Onsite training must be completed by all employees required to use a chainsaw as part of their job. Contractors must have safety, operation and maintenance certifications to be able to wield a chainsaw at work. Training needs to be completed by a trained instructor who holds the relevant award. Refresher courses should be taken regularly.

PPE And Chainsaw Use

Personal protective equipment (PPE) must be worn at all times by chainsaw operates to protect from flying detritus, blade mechanisms, vibrations and falling objects. The PPE required to be worn at all times during chainsaw operation includes, but should not be limited to:

  • Chainsaw Trousers
  • Chainsaw Boots
  • Chainsaw Helmets
  • Chainsaw Helmets with chinstrap
  • Chainsaw Hearing Protection
  • Mesh Visor or safety glasses
  • Chainsaw Gloves

If you need tree surgery completed at your residential or commercial property, contact Banksia Arborcare today. We’re quick to call out to your site and inspect the problem before implementing an effective solution. Call us today on 0412 181 075 between 8:00am and 7:00pm.