Operating a chainsaw can be an extremely hazardous endeavor if proper safety precautions are not taken. From preparing the saw for transport to safely securing it during travel, there are several critical steps involved in guaranteeing safe chainsaw transportation. In this comprehensive guide, I will walk through the essential practices and equipment needed to avoid injury and properly protect your chainsaw when moving it from place to place.
First off, understanding why safe transportation is so vital. Chainsaws are powerful tools with fast-spinning chains that can easily cause severe laceration injuries if they come into contact with skin or limbs. Their gas-powered engines also pose fire hazards if fuels leak during transit. Simply tossing a chainsaw uncovered into the back of a pickup truck is asking for trouble. Proper chainsaw transportation aids in preventing accidents, damage to the saw, and undue wear or dulling of the chain.
In the sections below, I will outline proper techniques for preparing chainsaws for transport, carrying and securing them, essential safety gear to wear, maintenance tips to ensure safe operation, and accessories that enable easy and safe chainsaw mobility. I’ll also answer some frequently asked questions about fundamental chainsaw safety practices. If you regularly need to move a chainsaw between work sites or for storage, this guide should provide invaluable advice to keep you injury-free. Let’s get started!
Preparing the Chainsaw for Transportation
The first step in safe chainsaw transport is taking measures to ready the saw before you start carrying or loading it into a vehicle. This involves simple preventative steps that reduce potential hazards.
Let the Chainsaw Cool Down
Before performing any actions involving physical contact with the saw, allow the engine and components to completely cool if it was recently running. Touching hot surfaces could cause burns.
Engage the Chain Brake
Activating the chain brake will prevent any accidental starting of the chain during handling and transport. This adds an extra layer of protection between your body and the cutting chain.
Use a Scabbard or Bar Guard to Cover the Chain
Sliding a scabbard or guard over the guide bar and chain provides a physical barrier preventing contact with the sharp cutters. This should always be done when carrying or storing a chainsaw.
Carrying the Chainsaw
Once prepared for transport, you’ll need to safely carry the chainsaw to your vehicle or other location. This is when injuries are most likely if precautions aren’t taken.
Carry the Chainsaw with the Bar Pointed Behind You
Positioning the guide bar so it points backwards while carrying the saw ensures the chain is facing away from your body. The bar should never point forwards or sideways where accidental bumping could lead to contact.
Ensure the Scabbard is on and the Muffler is Away From the Body
Double-check that the chain scabbard is secured over the bar and that the hot muffler is positioned away from any part of your body. Also avoid contact with the saw engine which could still be hot.
Using a Carrying Case
For longer transport over rough terrain or frequent chainsaw mobilization, a carrying case is worth the investment for both safety and convenience.
Cases protect the chainsaw from damage while keeping the chain and bar safely enclosed away from the user. Higher-end cases allow you to transport the saw while fuel and oil remain in the reservoirs. Some are even designed to hold all your accessories and personal protective equipment (PPE).
Look for sturdy cases with thick padding to absorb shocks, exterior scuff guards, and ergonomic handles for easy carrying. Waterproof construction will keep your saw protected in wet conditions. If your chainsaw didn’t come with an OEM case, aftermarket cases can be purchased that are specifically tailored to your saw’s make and model.
Securing the Chainsaw During Transportation
When transporting a chainsaw in a vehicle, you’ll want to secure it to prevent hazardous movement and damage. Try these methods:
- Place the chainsaw in a carrying case and secure the case with straps or tie-downs. This prevents the saw from sliding and bouncing around.
- If not using a case, secure the saw directly using straps, chains, netting, or specially designed holders that attach to the vehicle bed or interior. Immobilize the saw.
- Avoid placing loose saws on seats or passenger areas, always in a sturdy rear storage area.
- Ensure the chainsaw cannot tip over or sustain damage from shifting items inside the vehicle during transport.
Take measures to mitigate fuel spills too like traveling with empty fuel and chain oil tanks when feasible.
Chainsaw Safety Tips
Transporting a chainsaw certainly comes with risks if proper safety protocols aren’t followed. Here are some key chainsaw safety pointers to remember at all times:
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
Operating a chainsaw without the full complement of safety gear is extremely foolish. Proper PPE includes:
- Safety glasses and face shield
- Hearing protection – ears must be covered
- Heavy protective gloves
- Chainsaw chaps
- Steel-toe boots with grip
- Hard hat for overhead work
- Long sleeves and pants
Poor maintenance leads to dangerous malfunctions and increased kickback risk. Frequently inspect your saw and perform maintenance tasks like:
- Inspecting/replacing damaged/worn bars and chains
- Checking all screws, bolts, and mounts are secure
- Ensuring proper chain tension
- Cleaning dust and debris from the engine and guide bar
- Replacing worn sprockets
Safe Chainsaw Operation Techniques
Always adhere to safe operating procedures like:
- Maintaining proper stance and footing when sawing – never cut above chest height
- Supporting the weight of the saw using your body, not just your arms
- Keeping solid positioning before the saw starts to prevent loss of control
- Being alert and never sawing when fatigued
Safe storage practices prevent damage and accidents:
For storing overnight or a few days:
- Let the saw cool before storing.
- Store upright or hanging to prevent chain/bar damage.
- Engage the chain brake and scabbard.
- Drain the fuel and chain oil tanks.
For months of storage:
- Fully dismantle the saw following the manufacturer instructions
- Clean all components and let dry fully
- Coat metal parts with anti-rust lubricant
- Store the saw on its side to evenly distribute weight
- Always store in a high, dry place away from any moisture or children/pets. Inside a protective case is ideal.
Chainsaw Accessories for Transportation and Storage
Specialized accessories can make transporting and storing chainsaws much simpler while adding protection.
Chainsaw Holder and Tray
Attaching a holder/tray to your vehicle provides safe and stable transportation:
- Holds the saw securely to prevent hazardous movement
- Often features padding and rubber grips to minimize vibration
- Allows hands-free carrying from site to site
Chainsaw Carrying Bags
Carrying bags are a useful accessory for protecting your saw during transport:
- Padding absorbs shocks to prevent damage
- Water-resistant exteriors prevent moisture damage
- Bags allow easy handling from place to place
- Some bags can hold saws safely even when fueled
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the proper way to carry a chainsaw?
Always carry the saw with the chain brake engaged, bar scabbard installed, chain pointed away from you, and hot muffler positioned away from your body. Use extreme caution.
How should I store my chainsaw when not in use?
Store the saw in a dry, secure location like a shelf or case, out of reach of children. Avoid temperature extremes and direct sunlight over long periods.
What safety equipment should I wear when using a chainsaw?
At minimum, always wear chainsaw chaps, heavy boots, hearing and eye protection, long sleeves and pants, and gloves. Helmets and face shields provide additional safety.
How often should I inspect and maintain my chainsaw?
To ensure safe operation, the chain, bar, engine, and all components should be inspected before each use. Perform regular maintenance like chain sharpening or replacement at the intervals specified by the manufacturer.
What precautions should I take to avoid chainsaw kickback?
Always maintain proper chain tension, use low-kickback chains, avoid cutting with the bar tip, keep your left arm straight with a firm grip, and stand balanced with chainsaw kickback zone clear.
How can I secure my chainsaw during transportation?
Use straps, netting, and cases to immobilize the saw against movement. Never place a loose saw directly on vehicle seats or beds. Ensure the chain cannot move and contact objects in transit.
What are some essential chainsaw maintenance tasks?
Check chain sharpness and tension often. Inspect the bar and sprocket for wear. Confirm all screws are tight. Clean dust and debris from the engine and guide bar. Replace damaged components like air filters.
Michael Boyle is the founder and main author of Chainsaws Finder, boasting over 20 years of experience in the chainsaw industry. Hailing from Texas, Michael combines his extensive knowledge and hands-on expertise to provide reliable advice and top-notch service. His vision is to empower chainsaw users to tackle any project with confidence, making Chainsaws Finder a trusted resource in the field.