very first consideration. In view of the fact that chainsaws are one of the most
dangerous pieces of equipment to use, coupled with their ready availability to
the general public, I feel that it is important to stress that chainsaw carving
is not a pastime for the untrained. Just reading a chainsaw owner's manual does
not add up to a remotely adequate qualification in the use of the machine.
For the uninitiated (even those with experience but no certificate) I will
first draw your attention to a publication by the British "Health and Safety
Executive" on the subject of "Chainsaws
at Work". This publication can be obtained from: HSE Books, PO Box1999,
Sudbury, Suffolk, CO10 2WA. Or it can be downloaded via the link. Another range
of publications to consider are those from AFAG
and Forestry Advisory Group) relating to chainsaw
use under "safety guides". The HSE booklet lets you know where you stand
regarding the law.
All of this information should
be read carefully by anyone intending to use a chainsaw for any purpose, even
if they have had prior experience with the machine.
First steps are to read all of the preceding information
from AFAG and HSE. Next is to thoroughly acquaint yourself with the maintenance
and chain sharpening procedure detailed in your chainsaw owners manual. If you
don't have one, find out who the local dealer is for your particular make of saw,
and order a manual from them (if they're wise they'll be very helpful as you are
likely to be buying other items relating to your saw in the future).
The next most important step is to get some approved basic training
in the use of chainsaws. These courses are extremely informative, even for someone
who has been using the saw for some time without formal training. They will teach
the student the key issues of safe working practice and technique as well as in
depth experience in chain sharpening and general chainsaw maintenance. Attendance
on one of these courses can mean the difference between being able to actually
cut wood quickly and efficiently, and being rapidly put off by lack of progress.
It could also be a way of avoiding very serious injury.
responsible for training check out the following:
delivering training in "land based" qualifications.
Contracting Association Ltd, Dalfling, Blairdaff, Inverurie, Aberdeenshire, AB51
5LA. Tel: 01467 651368
Test Council (NPTC), National Agricultural Centre, Kenilworth, Warwickshire,
CV8 2LG. Tel: 02476 696553
National Agricultural Centre, Kenilworth, Warwickshire, CV8 2LG. Tel: 0345 078007
Scottish Skill Testing Service (SSTS), Ingliston, Edinburgh, EH28 8NE. Tel:
NPTC and Lantra are the awarding bodies. If you
do not have to work on Forestry Commission land and there are no other constraints
dictating otherwise, then Lantra is the least expensive qualification. NPTC have
an exam rather like a driving test at the end of the course. It is judged by an