Chainsaw safety is paramount, and taking a chainsaw safety course is wise for both newbies and those who have been using saws for some time.
I’ll admit to never having taken an official chainsaw course, but I have worked alongside and learned from some very experienced chainsaw users. Taking a comprehensive course is still on my to-do list.
The benefit of taking a course is that you can cover things systematically, as opposed to just picking things up here and there. You don’t know what you might have missed with the latter.
Chainsaw Safety Training Near Me
Chainsaw accidents are quite common, and so the best thing to do is take an in-person local chainsaw training.
Just search ‘chainsaw certification class near me’ or ‘chainsaw training near me’ and you will likely find some options.
If nothing pops up, check in at your local chainsaw dealer. If you live near a Stihl shop, for example, it’s likely they run chainsaw training regularly.
I live rurally, but have a city of 100,000 people about half an hour away. There are at least 3 Stihl dealers within 45 minutes of my home, and dozens of other non-Stihl chainsaw dealers within the same distance.
When I search for chainsaw training, a range of options show up:
- A course for experienced chainsaw users – those wanting to advance to the next level
- Forestry training certificates – for those wanting to go into the industry
- A beginners course – learn to confidently operate a chainsaw while minimizing risks and hazards
And there are more.
They range in scope from a full-time course over a number of months to single day, or even evening courses. I’ve now got my eye on the perfect course for my level!
Online Chainsaw Training
For some of you, going to a course in person is not possible.
Maybe that’s because:
- there’s nothing nearby
- you can’t afford it
- you don’t have the time
Taking an online chainsaw training is the next best thing – though it is definitely second best!
There’s so much you miss by not being able to ask questions and interact with an actual chainsaw instructor. Being able to watch someone in person use a chainsaw is a far superior learning experience.
1. Safe Training North America
Safe Training North America is one example of an online chainsaw safety and training course.
This company runs an OSHA-compliant course that focuses on the safe use and maintenance of a chainsaw.
It is s a very short 60-minute course that covers:
- Safety requirements when handling a chainsaw
- PPE requirements
- Anatomy of a chainsaw
- Mechanics of the chainsaw
- Inspection of the chainsaw before use
- The proper method of felling trees
- Different cutting techniques
- The main hazards associated with chainsaws
This chainsaw course is followed by a test in which you must score 80% or above to pass. A certificate of completion is awarded to those who do so.
2. Chainsaw Recovery, Maintenance, And Safety Course
Udemy has a chainsaw safety class on the platform.
This course includes 4 hours of content over 4 sessions and has been well-reviewed by those who have taken it. The course not only covers chainsaw safety but includes other important areas as well.
Here is the full outline:
- PPE and chainsaw safety features
- Tool selection and prep for maintenance
- Maintenance and cleaning
- Chain sharpening (a good chainsaw sharpener can help)
This is a beginner online safety course taught by John Russel who has a broad scope of experience and certification in using chainsaws. It’s not free, but at around $20 it’s not going to break the bank!
3. Cornell University
Cornell University, yes the very alma mater of my man Andy Bernard, has a selection of helpful chainsaw safety PDFs.
It’s not a course, per se (to carry on the Latin theme), but they are nonetheless comprehensive and offer sound advice.
The PDF chainsaw guides are on the topics of:
- Chainsaw safety for homeowners
- Selecting and maintaining a chainsaw
- Safe timber harvesting
- Working safely with a chainsaw
- Safe chainsaw techniques
These chainsaw safety resources shouldn’t take the place of in-person or video training courses, but they are a valuable addition to them.
The University of Kentucky has a 3-day chainsaw safety training course that looks very good for those who are in the area.
4. Leavitt Machinery
Leavitt Machinery also has online training in chainsaw safety.
This course is around 75 minutes long and intends to teach a healthy respect for chainsaws.
They use chainsaw demonstrations, diagrams, and interactive activities to show how to most safely and effectively use a chainsaw.
Course contents include:
- Chainsaw components and safety features
- Different types of chainsaws (for example, mini chainsaws and logging chainsaws)
- Physical and site preparation for chainsaw use
- PPE safety requirements for using a chainsaw (good chainsaw chaps are essential)
- Assessing, identifying, and controlling hazards
- What to check for before using a chainsaw
- Best chainsaw start-up methods
- Different cutting techniques and best practices
- Maintenance after using a chainsaw
- How to safely sharpen a chain
Similar to other courses, you will need to score at least 80% on a test after viewing the course in order to pass and receive a certificate of completion.
Some companies are able to come on-site to train in the safe use of chainsaws.
These chainsaw professionals are mostly targeting those who are in the forestry or arboreal industry. It’s about teaching staff new skills and/or refreshing them on everything they’ve forgotten.
1. FISTA Safety & Training
Fista, the Forest Industry And Training Alliance also offers chainsaw safety training.
There are courses for beginners to advanced, but they are focusing more on those who are looking to get into the forestry industry, rather than home use.
This company will come and provide hands-on training with each participant and customizes the content for the class.
They can do training in advanced cutting techniques and in how to deal with hazardous situations.
2. Ohio Forest CSAW
The CSAW program run by the Ohio Forestry Association is one example of another in-person chainsaw training.
They run two main classes; level one and level two. Each of these chainsaw courses runs for 8 – 16 hours in length and are exceptionally good. It’s so much more advanced than the standard online or free chainsaw courses.
Level One covers:
- PPE requirements
- Chainsaw safety C=checklist
- Starting a chainsaw, parts, and maintenance
- Proper tree felling techniques and procedures
That last module is perhaps most interesting as it goes beyond what can be taught online.
Learn about chainsaw reactive forces, creating a pre-felling plan, how to do an open face notch, a bore cut, and all about the hinge. It even goes into felling direction considerations.
Level Two includes:
- Advancing the skills of felling trees that participants were taught in level 1
- Safest techniques for topping and limbing trees
- Dealing with the safety hazards that occur when a tree is felled
You can see there that a chainsaw safety course nearby trumps those which are online.
Unfortunately, there are no courses on becoming a chainsaw juggler!
Free Chainsaw Safety Training
We can’t forget YouTube when it comes to chainsaw safety and training courses.
The video above is one of the best free courses on how to use a chainsaw safely. It’s part one of a two-part series taught by some very experienced and advanced chainsaw pros (part two here).
Even though it’s free, this is a good course put out by the US Agricultural Safety and Health Center.
Besides this series, YouTube is full of quality free videos on how to best and most safely use a chainsaw.
Immerse yourself in them and you will learn a lot. Be sure to listen to a variety of people so you can learn to discern the good advice from the bad!
Hopefully, if you can’t make it to a local chainsaw class, you can learn a lot from these paid and free online courses.
Different chainsaw brands have different safety features and specs that all come into play as well. Make sure you familiarize yourself with your particular chainsaw manual in case there is something you need to know that’s unique to your saw.
However, as with all things chainsaws-related, it’s better to be safe than sorry!
Lastly, you’ve got to check out the BaSt-Ing VinZent – it’s an item of PPE like you wouldn’t believe.