Published onJuly 3 2019
"There can be no cutting corners or guesswork when it comes to working with chainsaws, so be sure to learn best practice through an approved course."
Some jobs require teeth. If you undertake projects where felling or significant tree maintenance work is required, then a chainsaw is likely to be essential.
Certainly, if it is aerial work, then you will almost certainly bring in an experienced arborist. However, when the work is groundbased some landscapers will choose to do the job themselves.
Given that chainsaws can be extremely hazardous, though, this requires careful thought, so be sure to have read the Health and Safety Executive’s (HSE) leaflet, 'Chainsaws at work' which sets out what employers and the self-employed need to know.
Even if a landscaper is only an occasional chainsaw user, they must be competent and have taken appropriate training from an approved provider. According to the HSE’s investigations, most serious injuries have occurred because operators have taken shortcuts and are not following good practice guidance. Notably, chainsaw training is mandatory under the provisions of PUWER – the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations.
"most serious injuries have occurred because operators have taken shortcuts"
When taking on an employee who says they have knowledge of chainsaw use, check that they are qualified, and that their training is up to date. As an employer, you could face prosecution if an accident were to occur, and with a chainsaw this could be fatal.
Learning from Lantra
The organisation from which to source quality training from is Lantra, which has a network of providers all over the UK.
Lantra also works closely with the HSE to ensure courses have a strong emphasis on safety. A Lantra-approved course offers the reassurance that it will be of a high standard and the instructors will also be subject to regular assessment.
For those new to chainsaw use, the two-day Chainsaw Maintenance and Cross-Cutting training course could well be a relevant introduction. This provides appropriate techniques and invaluable safety guidelines to ensure there is both ability and knowledge of health and safety.
However, this is only at a basic level and will not allow you to use a chainsaw in a professional capacity. Once you have learned core skills, you can then move on to training that will equip you to use these at work.
Skills and Safety
The five-day course – a Level 2 certification in Chainsaw Maintenance, Cross-cutting, Felling and Processing Trees up to 380mm – focuses on practical skills and safety, and will show employers and customers that for groundbased work, you have completed sufficient training to meet PUWER regulations.
Meanwhile, training also needs to be kept up to date. It is recommended that this takes place every two to three years, and refresher courses are readily available.
Another important issue is chainsaw selection, and you should find that courses allow new users to hire before they buy. Instructors can also be helpful in providing advice on suitable models for purchase. Chainsaw users are required by law to wear appropriate PPE, too, and this should be obtained prior to training.
There is a wide range of chainsaws available and plenty of training and support on offer. For those landscapers looking to offer a tree management service, this is a great time to explore your options.
Article by Pro Landscaper Magazine
Pictured above - John Trenchard, Lantra and Arbor Venture Instructor and Assessor