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Common Tree Felling Accidents and What You Can Do to Prevent Them

Common Tree Felling Accidents and What You Can Do to Prevent Them Unfortunately, tree felling accidents are
quite common. Many videos of accidents are available on
Youtube. They are occasionally billed as humorous,
but to anyone who values life and limb, they are anything but funny. Accidents do happen, but fortunately, use
of professional protective equipment (PPE), good technique, and attention to detail can greatly reduce their occurrence and the injuries they cause. The importance of PPE can never be overstated. Head, ear, eye, leg, and foot protection are
mandatory. A chainsaw should never, under any circumstances,
be operated without them. A good pair of gloves is also strongly recommended. Handling a saw without PPE reflects poorly on the individual, the management, and the company. It also violates OSHA and ANSI regulations. No excuse for failure to use PPE is acceptable. Kickback Probably the most common cause of accidents
is kickback. Kickback occurs when the top quarter of the
saw blade, also known as the kickback zone, contacts a solid object (wood or metal). Because the chain is coming down the edge
of the saw bar in the kickback zone, the depth gauge is lower than it should be in relation
to the tooth. Literally, the saw bites off more than it
can chew, stopping or slowing the chain. The result is a rotational force that flings
the bar backward, into the operator. Kickback can also happen when the bar is pinched
by the tree being cut (pinch kickback). If the chain is pinched on the top of the
bar, the saw will be pushed back into the operator, if it is pinched on the bottom of
the bar, the reaction pulls the saw forward and can cause the operator to fall on the
saw. What can you do to prevent Kickback? Hold the saw with both hands, thumbs securely
wrapped. Have one hand on the rear handle and the other
on the front handle. Ensure that you have firm footing before starting
to saw. Stand to the side of the cutting path of the
chainsaw. Position yourself so that you are not near
the bar and chain when the saw is running. Know where the bar tip is at all times. Do not let it touch logs, branches, or the
ground when the saw is running. Cut only one piece of wood at a time, never
two branches at once. Run the saw at full power when cutting to
help prevent pinch kickback. Barber Chair The barber chair occurs when the force pulling
forward on the trunk is great enough to split the trunk but not great enough to trigger
the hinge to fold. It is often caused by heavy front leaning
trees. It can also occur by applying too much force
to a rope while pulling the tree over using mechanical advantage. The bottom of the tree goes up and the top
comes down (like a barber chair, feet up, head down). Workers can be struck by the trunk as it swings
up or crushed as it falls. What can you do to prevent being struck by
a barber chair? Have your escape route planned in advance. It should be away from the tree at a 45-degree
angle from the direction of the tree fall. Make sure the escape route is cleared. Change the direction of felling to avoid excessive
forward lean. Take care with your felling cuts and regardless
of the type of notch you cut, correct any undercutting or bypassing before making the
back-cut or bore-cut. Make sure the chain is sharp, and the saw
is running properly, this will decrease the time the wood is under tension. An open-faced notch, followed by a bore cut
through the tree to create the hinge reduces the chance of getting hurt by a barber chair. Using this technique, tree fibers in the trunk
are less likely to be pulled to the breaking point. Other techniques require the operator
to be standing at the tree, sawing through more of the hinge as the tree begins to fall. This puts the operator in a very dangerous position, right behind the tree should a barber
chair happen. Entanglement is when a tree being felled strikes
branches or the trunk of another tree. It changes the direction of fall or hangs
up the tree, leaving a dangerous overhead hazard. The best solution to entanglement is avoidance. It can be avoided by implementing the five
step felling plan. First, identify Height, Hazards, and Lean. Then make sure you have the needed equipment. Plan and clear your escape route. Cut the notch in the tree and finally, make
bore or back cut and use the escape route. If a tree is hung-up in another tree the best
option is to pull it out with ropes. Others techniques should only be implemented
by very experienced professionals. In storms, trees may become entangled in utility
lines. In this case, do nothing, wait for the utility
company to arrive and declare the situation safe before attempting to free the tree. Setback Setback occurs when the tree sets back during
the bore cut or back cut, pinching the chainsaw. In extreme cases, the tree may fall back onto
the feller. Setback occurs when a tree has back lean. Once again, application of the five step felling
plan will prevent setback. Lean should be identified prior to making
any cuts. If the tree has back lean, you will need either
wedges or rope. Remember, if you don’t have the equipment
on hand and in working order, do not cut the tree. Putting a wedge in any tree you are felling
is good practice and will prevent setback. Stump Jump Stump jump occurs when the hinge fails, and
the tree detaches from the stump. At this point, the tree is in free fall and
completely out of control. The tree can jump onto the feller or the tree
trunk can strike the feller. The hinge can fail when the notch is too deep,
the angle of the notch is 45 degrees or less, or the back cut is too high. This accident is much less likely if an open-faced
notch (70-90 degrees) and a bore cut are used. Once again your best protection is the rigorous
application of the five step felling plan. The escape route should be identified and
cleared prior to cutting. When the tree begins to move, the workers
should be moving along the escape route and nowhere near the detached tree. Spring Pole Wood under tension is always potentially dangerous. A relatively small branch or trunk can cause
great damage. A spring pole is when a tree or branch is
under great tension and the chainsaw operator cuts into the wood, resulting in a violent
release of energy. The operator may be struck by the trunk, limb,
or chainsaw. This generally occurs during limbing and bucking
but not exclusively, it can also occur up in the canopy with storm damage. A tree or branch with a bow or sweep will
store energy, ready to be released upon cutting. There are two cutting methods that will safely
release the tension in a spring pole. First, identify the compression and tension
side of the wood. Never cut on the tension side. Next, look for the point of maximum tension. Mentally, draw a line along the trunk of the
tree and a line at a right angle from the top of the bow to the trunkline. Bisect those
lines with another line at a 45-degree angle. That is the point of maximum tension. The accordion cut is a series of small relief
cuts made on the compression side of the tree opposite from the point of maximum tension. This can be a handy cut for short people because
it is done under the branch. The shave cut will also release the tension. This is also made at the point of maximum
tension. One layer is shaved off at a time until the
branch relaxes, releasing all tension. We’ve covered the most common accidents that
can occur during tree removal, but this list of accidents is not all-inclusive. Your best defense is training, education,
and a keen awareness of your surroundings. Cut smart, cut safe!

Cesar Sullivan

100 thoughts on “Common Tree Felling Accidents and What You Can Do to Prevent Them

  1. I've been felling trees for 19 years and was glad to find this video helpful. Thanks for uploading👍 I know a man that owns a tree company and proudly claims to know everything about trees. Anytime anyone claims to know everything about anything, you can bet dollars to dimes there's an accident waiting to happen. Pride is not your friend.

  2. I'd like a professional course on this where the scenarios advanced my grandad raised me to use an axe and chainsaw since age 6 and i'm 22 now this stuff is second nature and my tools are a part of my arm but i need more :-

  3. Here's the best of breed video series on proper, safe tree felling. Watch all of them. Copy professionals and you'll be efficient and safe.

    The Weakened Woodsman videos go into wonderful detail on WHY trees do what they do and how you can control them:

    Both are entertaining and well worth your time.

  4. “What can you do to prevent being struck by a barber chair?” Simple, don’t piss off your barber.

  5. The pinch kickback is very help full if you expect it I tend to use it a lot when I cut trees it pushes my saw out right before the time for wedges come

  6. People sadly tend to treat chainsaws like any other simple tool. But a chainsaw isn't a hammer, you can't learn to properly use it by looking at your dad do it when you're a child.

  7. In Australia you need a permit from the government to work for money with a chainsaw. Bloody do-gooders.
    If you're dumb enough to use a chainsaw unsafely, it's your own damn fault I say.

  8. thanks for putting these videos out there. Now that I am older and own my own property I am quickly learning that the way "my daddy did it" is not the safest way to do it. LOL I appreciate your videos

  9. When I first got my stihl saw I thought I could just go over there and start cutting trees down. But I soon realized that there is potential for severe accidents. Now i cannot get enough of these HOW TO videos.

  10. You tell people to stand to the side of the cut. And then you the guy making a bore cut standing right behind the saw and leaning into it. Which one is it?

  11. Great video for beginners. You can drop trees for a hundred years. But when you have no feeling of a little fear tingling every time you drop a tree then its time to stop and put the saw away or trust assure you will meet that one tall standing son of a bitch that will either kill you ,hurt you or just plan fuck your day up. Having that little fear everytime tells you that your aware that its dangerous and can kill you so you will be cautious but like I said if there is no feeling your doomed. Trust me I know I have been felling trees for many years and have seen shit that has no scientific answer and can make you look in ahw…. Don't trust the fucking tree it dosnt care about you matter of fact your cutting its fucking legs out from under it and chopping it up so if anything it would be happy to kick your ass or put you 6 feet under. There is the advice for all rookies and want to be bad assess. Your a tough guy but that tree would fuck your day up . Attitude is key. Good luck and happy cutting

  12. Great video, thanks! You might want to put chainsaw in the title. I had the hardest time finding this one again because I searched my history for chainsaw and it didn't show up. Thanks again! Very helpful!

  13. It's a pity that there are so many videos on YouTube with people not using PPE, alot are professional people which makes it worse.

  14. At 5:07, the backcut is at the same height as the chord of the notch; better would be to create a step by putting it about 1" above that so the tree has a harder time slipping back behind the stump.

  15. Very well done, But you could add one point,
    When using any chain saw an cutting, Never stand directly behind the saw, as when cutting for wood in a vertical cut,, In that fashion, always stand to the side of the saw, in case it starts to jump out, and up. It will not contact any part of the body.
    I also found when cutting horizontally, If at all possible, stand with the back of the saw where the handle is supported by the mass of the body or have it resting against a much heavier part of the body, then just trying to support it with the arms and hands, as this will help prevent and reduce any kick back, You will have to actually figure this out until you are comfortable doing this. Along with the correct footing, Your probably better off seeing someone doing this before you try it yourself. As I have in many times used this for probably over 50 years, an think it saved me from many a kick back. And especially watching where that tip goes.

  16. 30 yrs of climbing/ felling trees, the thinking brain/ fear / respect factor, is WAYYY better than thinking protective gear can circumvent any bad decisions.

  17. Last summer I cut my ankle pretty good when I was chopping up a bit of aspen for firewood. It was probably about a quarter of an inch deep, an inch and a half in length. This is good information to know in case I start felling trees.

  18. I’ve been cutting wood my whole life and I’m 43. I have seen some stupid things happen over the years-especially these past two or three years. U just can’t be too careful out there.

  19. Chainsaws are SOOOO fucking dangerous….but mainly the TREES….there's just So many unpredictable things that Will happen….you really need to be a little paranoid, otherwise you won't make it long.

  20. To prevent all these accidents by stop cutting trees. Just remember that tree has a life like you, So how would you feel when someone cuts you in half!

  21. How do you advise AGAINST letting the "kick zone" or "TOE" of the saw touch anything but advise a plunge cut in your bore or back cut? I NEVER plunge cut a back or bore cut EVER! Wedges are the BEST way if you have any doubt. Also on your "shave" technique why not just tip the branch off from the brush end? I guess everyone has different ways as long as you're CAREFUL and NEVER take any tree for granted, no matter WHAT size it is!

  22. Always cut above your head when necessary, and remember everyone lives barber chairs so I encourage you don't worry about it

  23. Ppe should only ever be used if you can’t take away the dangers
    You’ll still get an idiot using power equipment
    Be safe out there folks

  24. if your a home owner watching this before tackling some tree's consider calling a professional (not kijiji. an insured, certified arborist) everr year we complete at least 2-3 jobs that home owners hurt themselves trying to do themselves. some minor. some very serious.. a fully capable man breaking both legs and 1 arm and opposite wrist when the tree barberchaired and struck him. another customer of ours was knocked off a 6 ft latter and broke his back, wheelchair bound for life trying to raise the canopy on his front yard maple. cost less than $400.
    if your going at it yourself goodluck! lots of research and dont be alone. also! composite toes in boots are not chainsaw safe might as well wear sandals.

  25. in July 2017 I had to cut down a tree that fell after a storm … not knowing the kick back effect I wounded my chest quite badly
    60 stitches on the right side and 20 on the biceps
    Pleural and lung perforation
    three sawn ribs
    I'm still here in this world out of pure luck and thanks to my girlfriend who helped me
    if I had seen your video before that day I would have saved myself a lot of problems 😉

  26. Hahaha i have been working with My dad 5 year with chansaw and i have got only 1 kickback but i was Lucky nobody got hurt. I take 4-7 limbs at a time IF there is many limbs. Stop fucking leave Long stumps. 👿👿👿👿👿

  27. I'm already sketched I've never ran a chainsaw before going without wood in winter sucks so I got one to help my family out I'll be watching many videos before I go kill myself

  28. I heat almost exclusively with wood, and cut all that I need. Videos like this always teach me something new, that I either haven't come across or need to be reminded of. Thanks!

  29. Should you use the saw tip to undercut the bent sampling? I thought it was best practice to avoid using the top of the tip to lessen kickback chances.

  30. Thank for the heads up i didnt know 2 of them but now i do ull get from me 👍👍👍👍👍👍👍👍👍👍👍👍👍👍👍👍👍👍👍thx n god bless

  31. If your watching this video then you dont have to worry about osha because your doing this for personal use not business purposes fuck osha and there inflated safety regulations

  32. What is a bore cut, and how do I apply it? I have to fell some real leaners on my new property

  33. When the feller was executing the accordion cut to resolve the spring pole, it looked as if he was using the tip of the saw that was mentioned earlier in the video as dangerous for kickback. Was he doing that because the tree itself was serving as a guard? Thanks so much for this video- its a great resource.

  34. Another tip on not getting hit with a barber chair, always remember to tip him/her. Ya never know what sorta mood they can be in.

  35. I just got my first chainsaw. I have seen too many videos of people doing unsafe acts or just operating chainsaw as if they were just riding a bicycle. Thank you for this video, I learned a lot from it.

  36. Похоже кроме как на картинках мы этот обратный удар не увидим. Да, пила пытается двигатся по этой траэктории, но чтобы ударить в лицо.
    На практике у меня даже дерево не покидала.

    It seems that except in the pictures we will not see this backstab. Yes, the saw is trying to move along this path, but to hit the face.
    In practice, I didn’t even leave the tree

  37. My father was an emergency room physician, he use to say never become complacent when riding a motorcycle, snow skiing, ATV, or using a chainsaw. And take frequent breaks to reserve atleast 10% of your energy from the point of exhaustion for recovery.

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