SAWS AND OTHER CUTTING TOOLS (other than power tools)



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. Overhead power lines.

         Risk to other workers, Danger from saw blade- damage to limbs, splinters/sawdust in eyes, Danger from felled branches, splitting timber. Overhead power lines.

         Risk to public, Danger from felled branches. Overhead power lines .







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


Protective Clothing:

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


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 cutting is to take place should be clearly demarcated, and no one else should be permitted within this area during cutting.

         The tool user is responsible for keeping all other people outside the zone. He should designate a co-worker to supeervise and maintain this exclusion zone until the operation is completed.

         The limits of this exclusion zone shall vary according to the size, height and nature of the timber being cut, the arc of the tool's activity and the gradients of the surrounding land. The area will be at the discretion of the designee, who shall take the above considerations into account.


Visible and Audible Signals:

         A signal system should be established to provide communication between the tool operator, the designated 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 cutting tool shall only be used in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions.

         The operator must be trained and familiar with its use.

         When felling overhead timber, 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 maintaining an exclusion zone easier.

         Each time overhead timber is to be felled, the feller must 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 feller 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 operator can signal to the supervisor that he feels that it is safe for assistants to enter the danger zone. 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.

         Protective guards should be placed on the tools when not in use.

         When cutting up felled timber on the ground, as a general rule, no one should approach or assist the person cutting unless specifically asked to to so by the tool user, rather he should maintain a safe distance.

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

Copyright fishwatch 1998