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Chainsaws: One of the most dangerous apparatuses a farmer can use

In this article, FRS provides readers with safety tips for using a chainsaw.

As winter approaches, there has been a change in weather, with strong winds and unpredictable storms becoming more frequent.

This has resulted in an increase of incidents where windblown trees have come down around farms and houses.

A chainsaw may be a standard piece of equipment on any farm, yet it is considered one of the most dangerous apparatuses a farmer can use.

Teagasc research has indicated that approximately 120 serious injuries occur from chainsaw-related activities each year. Farmers, farm workers and contractors are a high-risk category for chainsaw injuries.

These persons may only use chainsaws occasionally and lack the training, experience and knowledge required for certain tasks.

Chainsaws should only be used by suitably trained and competent users.

There are many high-risk hazards associated with the chainsaw.

Risk of accidents can be greatly reduced by getting training, following strict chainsaw safety guidelines, and always wearing proper Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).

Suitable personal protective equipment (PPE) must be provided and worn regardless of the job size to protect those parts of the body susceptible to injury.

All equipment should conform to the relevant European or British Standards.

Chainsaw PPE should include a safety helmet, ear protectors, safety boots, safety visor, chainsaw gloves and pants. Do not start a task without all the essential PPE.

Safety tips for using a chainsaw include the following;
  • Always keep the saw close to the body when in use and the thumb of the left hand under the front handle;
  • Avoid cutting with the upper nose of the guide bar and use full throttle when making a cut;
  • The bar on the saw should be as short as possible in length – for most farm jobs, ideally no longer than 13 inches;
  • Use the chain break as intended and do not overreach or cut above shoulder height;
  • Always keep the correct tension on the chain and have a second person working with you.
  • Maintenance is also key. Ensure all the safety features on the saw are in good working order;
  • Clean out the saw after use and sharpen the saw when it needs it;
  • Use a round file in a file holder; never use a grinding tool, as it heats up the chain.

If you are getting someone in to work with a chainsaw, ensure you and them are covered by the required insurance and check if you are in doubt of cover.


FRS Training can deliver a wide range of chainsaw courses tailored to meet the needs of the industry and user.

The FRS Crosscutting Chainsaw course is ideal for activity in agricultural and forestry settings.

It runs over two days with a recognised certification for each person who completes the course. The course has a large emphasis on crosscutting timber under tension and compression due to storm damage.

This course is also suitable for operators who are involved in fencing activities on farmland.

All FRS Training courses are fully insured, and special attention is given to safety techniques needed for the ever-changing farm environment.

FRS Training will tailor the course to meet the needs of participants and can conduct the training locally.

To book a course or find out more information, visit

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