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Chainsaw Safety Tips for Spring Cleaning


By: Travis Dill
tdill@wdio.com

Trees toppled across the Northland after a harsh winter and strong spring winds, but think twice before you fire up that chainsaw to clean the backyard. Accidents and injuries can cost more than hiring the professionals, and they might be able to saw it up without the annoying noise.

The buzz of a chainsaw might get on your nerves, but owning a tree care company means Louise Levy hears it every day.

“Well I do get tired of listening to the chainsaw,” Levy said. “The battery-operated chainsaw just lessens that assault on the ears a little bit.”

She enjoyed the quiet cutting of the new battery-powered chainsaw demonstrated to her and a dozen other professionals in Duluth.

Steve Hagen with Midwest Stihl was showing off the new products at Burggraft's Ace Hardware. He said the chainsaws produce less than 80 decibels of noise so ear plugs aren't required to use them. The battery power means their green too according to Hagen.

“One of the biggest reasons, the biggest things is there's no emissions. You got no fumes to breathe in. Of course it's going to be eco-friendly because we're not producing those excess gas fumes that can cause pollution,” Hagen said.

But the battery does not mean less power or risk of injury for the operator.

“I'll tell you the accident report stats for my profession, and they're not pretty. Always have a hard hat, always protect your ears, always protect your eyes, always protect your legs, and protect your hands,” Levy said.

Dr. Sam Harms backed that up. The surgeon at Orthopaedic Associates said he sees about 5 injuries caused by power tools every summer.

“It can be a simple laceration or a cut. It can extend deep to involve the tendons or nerves. Obviously it can break the bone, and if it continues farther it can actually amputate your finger,” Harms said.

He said that can lead to permanent loss of mobility, and he had some advice.

“I think leaving it up to the professionals is a great idea. Surgery is expensive. The cost of your follow-up care is expensive,” Harms said.

So a doctor's note might be good enough excuse to get out of yard work. If you must do it yourself the professionals recommend wearing protective gear, not to work alone, and communicate well with your crew.

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