In the logging industry, cutting is used to fell, limb, and buck (cross cut) trees and limbs into pieces that are usable and maneuverable. Log cutting can be hazardous because workers use powered chainsaws and the cut trees, limbs, and logs can pose a crushing hazard.

It is important to choose the right chainsaw for the cutting job. Read and understand the instructions for the saw, keep it properly maintained and sharpened, and get the training to operate it safely. Wear appropriate safety gear for log cutting such as safety goggles, hearing protection, steel-toed shoes, hard hat, and gloves. Chaps that are chainsaw resistant can help prevent common chainsaw injuries to the legs.

When felling trees, evaluate each tree and look for hazards such as snow and ice accumulation, lean of the tree, other trees that may block the downward path, and dead limbs. Plan and clear retreat paths in the area in case a tree falls unpredictably. Use extra caution and clear the area when cutting a spring pole, a tree under stress, or a lodged tree. Follow proper cutting techniques to control the direction of the fall with use of an undercut, back cut, and the appropriate amount of hinge wood (equal to about 1/10 of the tree diameter).

While limbing a tree, make sure that it is stable before you start cutting. Stand on the uphill side of the tree so that any cut pieces will roll downhill and away from you. Start trimming the branches on the topside of the tree. Don’t undercut the limbs on the underside of the tree—roll it and stabilize it, then begin cutting again. Cut the branches on the far side of the tree and then start on the near side. Take caution that the limbs you are removing are not under stress and watch for spring back.

Follow the same general cutting principles when bucking a tree by staying uphill from the log and predicting the area and direction that the cut pieces will fall. Support the trunk so it will not roll by blocking or wedging it in place. Cut downward from the top of the trunk (over buck) about one-third the diameter and then roll it over to make final cuts. To prevent pinching the chainsaw, use plastic or wooden wedges (never metal) to keep the cut open. Avoid contacting them with the chainsaw to prevent kickback.

You can stay a cut above in the logging industry by following these general safety principles.

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The above evaluations and/or recommendations are for general guidance only and should not be relied upon for medical advice or legal compliance purposes. They are based solely on the information provided to us and relate only to those conditions specifically discussed. We do not make any warranty, expressed or implied, that your workplace is safe or healthful or that it complies with all laws, regulations or standards.

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