Risk Assessment :

         Risk to operator, Danger from saw blade- damage to limbs, splinters/sawdust in eyes, Danger from felled branches, splitting timber, loss of balance as branch is cut. Hearing damage due to noise level of saw operation. Fuel leakage and fire hazard. Overhead power cables.

         Risk to other workers, Danger from saw blade- damage to limbs, splinters/sawdust in eyes, Danger from felled branches, splitting timber. Fuel leakage and fire hazard. Overhead power cables.

         Risk to public, Danger from felled branches. Fuel leakage and fire hazard. Overhead power cables.






         Must be maintained and serviced regularly, according to manufacturer's instructions.


Protective Clothing:

         Operator should wear protective leggings, gloves, goggles, hard hat, ear mufflers and protective boots.


Site Assessment:

         Prior to the commencement of work, the site should be inspected and assessed for specific hazards, as set out in general safety procedures.


Safety Zone for operations:

         The area in which the chain saw operator works should be clearly demarcated, and no one else should be permitted within this area whilst the chain saw is running.

         A safety supervisor should control the limits of this area and be responsible for keeping all other people outside the zone whilst the saw is in operation.

         The limits of this exclusion zone shall vary according to the size, height and nature of the timber being cut, and the gradients of the surrounding land. The area will be at the discretion of the supervisor who shall take the above considerations and the advice of the experienced operator into account.


Visible and Audible Signals:

         The chain saw operator will be issued with a whistle, to warn of intention to start up chain saw, and to indicate the "All Clear".

         A signal system should be established to provide communication between the chain saw operator, the supervisor and the remainder of the work party. The supervisor should familiarise all members of the work party with the signals prior to each day's work.

         Warning signs should be erected to inform the public of the dangers and to keep them out of the operating zone




Safe System of Work:

         The chain saw shall only be used in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions.

         The operator must be trained and familiar with its use.

         Unless it has been otherwise discussed with the work party, the operator should work upstream of the rest of the work party. This will make the supervisor's task of monitoring activities easier to observe.

         Each time the chain saw operator intends to begin work, he must signal with a single long blast on his whistle. He must then await the permission of the supervisor to continue.

         The supervisor must clearly demarcate the boundary of the exclusion zone. He must check that there is no person other than the operator within this zone, and that everyone is aware that cutting is about to commence. He may then signal the operator to proceed.

         When cutting has finished the saw must be switched off. Only then can the operator signal to the supervisor that he feels that it is safe for assistants to enter the danger zone (Two short blasts on whistle). Where other potential hazards still exist (eg unstable banks, uneven river bed, cut timber which has not yet fallen), the supervisor must warn those entering the zone of these hazards.

         When cutting up felled timber on the ground, as a general rule, the work party should retire at least 5 metres from the operator. This distance shall be at the discretion, and under the control, of the supervisor.

         The saw must not be transported whilst the engine is running. Protective guards should be placed on the tools when not in use.

         Any injury sustained whilst working should be reported to the safety supervisor and logged on the record sheet.


Copyright fishwatch 1998