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Stihl Chainsaw Safety Awareness Week

MEDIA RELEASE
Monday 14 April 2008

KIWI DIY ENTHUSIASTS NEED TO GET SERIOUS ABOUT SAFETY

STIHL CHAINSAW SAFETY AWARENESS WEEK

14 – 20 April 2008

The inaugural STIHL Chainsaw Safety Awareness Week launched throughout the country today with a strong but simple message for the Kiwi ‘weekend warrior’ – taking five minutes to get ready before you start your DIY adventure is essential to your safety.

Supported by ACC, STIHL Chainsaw Safety Awareness Week targets the occasional chainsaw user who starts up their machinery once in a while but may not give proper consideration to keeping themselves safe. Safety chaps, ear muffs and glasses are widely available but uptake is not yet in line with chainsaw sales.

Seven-time STIHL TIMBERSPORTS® Champion Jason Wynyard, the national face of Safety Awareness Week, says taking a few moments before starting should be part of the process for anyone using a chainsaw.

“Kiwis could do with a nudge to brush up our attitude to safe chainsaw use,” says Jason.

“We need to quit making excuses when it comes to keeping safe. It’s so simple – put on your chaps, muffs, glasses and sturdy footwear, check your chainsaw is in good condition and suss out the working environment. Five minutes and you’re ready to go!” ACC spokesperson, Don Ramsay, says that chainsaw-related incidents by non-professional users could easily be prevented by taking the time to gear up properly.

“Over the past five years, more than $2.5 million dollars has been spent treating moderate to serious injuries from DIY chainsaw use. Some simple precautions could make a big difference to the huge volume of claims ACC gets each year from DIY injuries and save themselves the pain – both personal and financial – of a nasty injury,” he says. Tips for safe chainsaw use can be found in the injury prevention section at www.acc.co.nz.

To show its support for operator safety, STIHL has released special edition chainsaw safety gear packages to protect user’s legs, ears and eyes. The safety packs contain STIHL chaps, ear muffs and glasses at a reduced price of $95RRP. STIHL Marketing Services Manager Jochen Speer announced “these packs are heavily subsidised by STIHL to encourage existing and new users to get organised and raise safety awareness nationwide”.

STIHL safety products are exclusively available throughout New Zealand at STIHL Specialist Dealers and STIHL SHOP™ stores. To find your local STIHL Dealer simply phone 0800 4 STIHL or visit www.stihl.co.nz

ENDS

ACC’S TOP TEN CHAINSAW TIPS

1. Know your capabilities and that of your equipment: Match the size and type of your chainsaw to the job at hand. If you don’t have the skills for the job, get a professional to do it for you.

2. Check your chainsaw: Before you start up, check that all parts are lubricated, the chain is the right tension, the teeth or cutting edges are sharp, the depth gauge settings are correct, all safety devices are in place and working, and there are no loose parts or bolts. If anything’s missing or maladjusted, don’t use the chainsaw.

3. Gear up: Safety gear can save your life, so take the time to put on your protective gloves, chaps, helmet, safety glasses, Grade 4 hearing protection and solid (preferably steel-capped) boots.

4. Check your work area: Make sure your work area is free from tripping hazards and electrical cables; there’s no-one around who could get in the way; the weather conditions won’t become a hazard; and nothing could fall on you while you’re working, eg tree tops.

5. Never drop start a saw: Use the cold start or warm start positions only. If you drop start a saw it could swing in an arc and cause a serious injury.

6. Always watch for kickbacks: Kickback – when the guide bar is thrown back towards you in an uncontrolled arc - can happen at any time. Usually it occurs when the upper part of the bar nose contacts a solid object or light material, or it’s pinched while cutting. It can also happen if your chain is loose or the depth gauge setting is too low.

7. Never cut above shoulder height: This isn’t a good idea because it increases the risk you’ll lose your balance; you can’t see what you’re cutting; and it makes the chainsaw more prone to kickback.

8. Hold and use the saw correctly: Keep two hands on the saw and hold it close to your body, with the body of the saw close to what you’re cutting.

Plant your feet firmly and slightly apart for balance. Never try to adjust your chain or machine while the engine is running.

9. Cut only one log at a time: And remember, chainsaws are designed to cut wood – nothing else.

10. Maintain your saw: Good maintenance will extend the chainsaw’s life and make it safer to use. When you finish a job make sure the air filters, sprocket cover and chain brake mechanism are free from sawdust; clean the guide bar groove; oil the holes and check everything is in place (as per the start-up routine).

For more information and step-by-step instructions, download ‘A guide to Safety with Chainsaws’ from the Department of Labour’s website at www.dol.govt.nz.

Chainsaw safety advice is also available on the injury prevention section of ACC’s website at www.acc.co.nz.

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