Baton Rouge –- Thousands of people are treated for chainsaw injuries each year, but the risk for incurring such injuries increases substantially after a hurricane, when people are more likely to be using a chainsaw as part of cleaning up trees and fallen branches.

 The Department of Health wishes to remind citizens removing trees, limbs and branches from Hurricane Katrina to keep the following safety precautions in mind during the cleanup process:

·          Operate, adjust and maintain the chainsaw according to manufacturer’s instructions. Check the manual that accompanies your chainsaw to make sure it is operating as it should.

·          Properly sharpen chain saw blades and properly lubricate the blade with bar and chain oil before you use it. Also, be sure to periodically check and adjust the tension of the chainsaw blade to ensure proper, safe cutting action.

·          Use a chainsaw that is the right size for what you are trying to clean up. Include safety features such as a chain brake, front and rear hand guards, stop switch, chain catcher and a spark arrester with the saw you are using.

·          Wear the appropriate protective equipment, including hard hat, safety glasses, hearing protection, heavy work gloves, cut-resistant legwear (chain saw chaps) that extend from the waist to the top of the foot and boots that cover the ankle as you use the chainsaw.

·          DO NOT use an electric chainsaw for cleanup jobs in standing water.

·          Avoid contact with power lines during your cleanup. Wait until clearance has been given from energy officials before doing any work around downed power lines.

·          Always cut from waist level or lower so that you will be in safe control of the chainsaw as you operate it.

·          Stand at least 150 feet away from workers cutting down trees and make sure family members and bystanders stand at least 30 feet from you as you operate the chainsaw.

·          If injury occurs, apply pressure to the bleeding area and call medical personnel for help immediately.

·          Take extra care in cutting bent and twisted trees or branchesas well as trees that are caught on or under other objects by high winds. If the tree or the branch is suddenly released, it can strike you or someone else and cause death or serious injury.

Slowly shave the underside of  trees rather than cutting through it. This allows the tension from snagged limbs to release slowly.


For more health and safety information for cleanup after Hurricane Katrina,