Box clever with chainsaws

Teagasc's Tom Ryan (right) pictured with Eamon Hogan at the Teagasc Farm Safety Open Day.
Teagasc's Tom Ryan (right) pictured with Eamon Hogan at the Teagasc Farm Safety Open Day.

Farmers were urged to employ contractors with specialist equipment for tree felling work.

Forest workers often refer to leaning or broken trees as 'widow makers' due to the dangers.

Teagasc's Tom Ryan pointed out there were many high risks and hazards linked to chainsaw use such as severe cuts,kick-backs, noise, vibrations, eye injuries, chains derailing or breaking and head injuries.

Mr Ryan said farmers should hire in trained individuals to fell trees and deal with hazardous situations such as windblown trees.

He urged people to ensure they use the proper safety footwear with steel toecaps, Kevlar chainsaw trousers with 11 layers of polyamide to foul up and stop the chain, chainsaw gloves and a safety helmet for head protection.

He pointed out the left hand and knee were most vulnerable to injury from the chain.

"Keep the chainsaw close to your body and stand like in a boxer stance," he said. Mr Ryan warned kickback was most likely to occur when the top part of the nose of the guidebar makes contact with the timber during chainsaw use.

He urged people to keep the chain really sharp, ideally sharpening it every time you refuel. He pointed out it should be resulting in woodchips rather than sawdust.

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Thomas Moloney pointed out their specialist equipment allows them to shear a tree, grab it again and cut the tree into sections.

He said they researched the Woodcracker machine from Austrian-based Westtech fully and had to travel to the UK to purchase the machine at a cost of €32,000 plus VAT as they wanted one with a full rotation system

"We are very happy with it, it has saved a lot in labour costs and is really good in terms of safety," said Mr Moloney.

Rotation system

"It will take a tree of about 16in diameter, whatever it will go around it will go through, there is no issue with hardwood or softwood. We do a lot of work by the railway lines and it is ideal as it just goes in and shears them and nothing falls down onto the track.

"It has in built rotation system that tilts it, so it can twist around to take trees that have fallen in by a river and it can also stack timber as well," he said.

"It is a really controlled way of doing it. You can go along in by a river or a building and safely control and remove the trees."

He pointed out they also have a cherry picker that can be safely used to remove trees but it is more time consuming.

Additionally, for farmers engaging in all types of activity including tree felling, John McNamara urged farmers to keep away from power lines when working and if working close to them to check with the ESB for safe clearances. "You don't have to be in contact with a cable - it can arc," he warned.

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