Chain saw safety class available on Feb. 4

Chain saw safety class available on Feb. 4

There is currently national concern about chain saw safety, especially since some recent natural disasters. Cleanup after a storm often can result in personal injury. When disaster happens, help is needed. Concerned folks can attend an upcoming training scheduled for Feb. 4 to help make sure they are not included in the  victims.

One key to avoiding personal injury is the use of personal protection equipment (PPE). PPE is needed when using a chain saw because of the high level of danger. The chain moves at 68 miles per hour or 88 feet per second. At full speed, 600 teeth pass a given point per second.

Many people don’t like to use personal protection equipment (PPE). Reasons given include it is uncomfortable, it does not fit well or it is hot. Many brands and sizes are available for use. Finding your best fit and brand may be the key to safety.

In Lenoir County, there are an estimated 15 to 20 chain saw injuries treated annually in the local hospital. The Tree Care Industry Association reports the youngest victim recorded was 18 and the oldest was 70; the median age of the victims, including all incidents, was 39. This relatively high median age suggests that complacency — rather than ignorance — played a significant role in these incidents.

If you have been cutting trees for a while, you probably have found your share of strange things inside trees. People put wires, bullets, conduit, hook and eye latches, barbed wire, pipe flanges, tennis balls, fabric, plastic bags, concrete, expanding foam, pipes and rocks in them. Trees do not expel foreign objects. Instead, they grow around  all sorts of irritants.

As the chain saw blade bites into the tree, bark, wood chips and tiny bits of the metal blade explode into the air. Your face and eyes are nice, soft targets for all this flying debris. While a faceguard with a mesh screen protects your face, it isn’t enough to protect your eyes from injury. Flying objects can shatter the lenses of regular eyewear, increasing the chances of eye injury.

Safety glasses or goggles with side protection or wrap-around lenses deflect threats that come at the eyes from both the front and the side. There are safety glasses and goggles that fit over prescription eyewear. Alternatively, you can have safety eye wear made to your vision prescription, even if you wear bifocals.

Whether you wear prescription or off-the-shelf safety glasses, make sure you can see clearly. Select models that resist fogging and scratching and that offer UV protection to minimize eye damage are available. Look for eye protection with an ANSI or ISEA impact rating of Z87.

Come to the Lenoir County Cooperative Extension Office, 1791 Hwy 11/55, Kinston, Feb. 4 at 8:30 a.m. to learn more about chain saw safety. The class offers one hour of ISA credit for certified arborist, climber, specialist, aerial lift and practice. The class is free. Contact Peg Godwin at 252-527-2191 with any questions.

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