Consumer Reports talks safety and chain saws

30,000 people injured every year

Chain saws injure more than 30,000 people every year. So,  now that it's peak season for buying and using chain saws, Consumer Reports is offering tips and reminders to help people be safe.

Jamie Button is thankful to be back on his feet after a chain-saw injury cut him to the bone. It happened while he was on top of a ladder, cutting a broken limb.

"After I cut through it, the limb fell toward me and knocked the chain saw right down onto my leg," said Button.

Now, he does yard work with his feet on the ground.

"Only cut tree limbs that you can reach from the ground. Hold the saw with both hands. Never overreach, and never cut above shoulder-level," said Peter Sawchuk of Consumer Reports.

And if you're inexperienced, cutting down trees is a job best left to the pros. A lot of chain-saw injuries involve kick-back, when the tip of the saw contacts the wood and lurches back at you.

"The best way to prevent kick-back is to never let the tip of the saw contact the wood or the ground. Always operate the saw to the right for better balance," said Sawchuk.

Keeping your saw sharp and well-oiled will also help prevent kickback, and tightening your chain is also important.

"Your chain will loosen as you're cutting, and it can come off the bar, so you need to tighten it every ten to 15 minutes," said Sawchuk.

On the day of his injury, Button was not wearing protective gear.

"Now I wear the Kevlar chaps to cover my legs that my kids bought me for Christmas after that happened," he said.

To stay safe, you will also want to invest in a helmet as well as sturdy gloves and steel-tipped boots.


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