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Troup County Extension agent: Fall chainsaw safety training

Brian Maddy

Contributing columnist

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“A chainsaw is the most dangerous implement you can buy in a store that does not require any training or license. You don’t even need to read the manual to operate it,” said Ellen Bauske with UGA’s Urban Forestry Issue Team.

According to the CDC, 36,000 people are treated in hospital emergency rooms for injuries using chainsaws. Thirty-six percent of the injuries are to the legs and knees. The average chainsaw injury requires 110 stitches and the average medical cost was $ 5,600.

Medical costs for chainsaw injuries average $350 million per year. Workman compensation costs can be estimated at $125 million per year.

Despite these grisly statistics, over 3 million chainsaws are sold each year. UGA Extension is presenting training for those working in the tree care industry and the landscape industry. This training will be taught by North American Training Solutions.

North American specializes in chainsaw training. The classes are approved by the OSHA — Occupational Safety and Health Organization — and funded through their Susan Harwood Training Program.

Ellen Bauske says that “a surprising number of people cut down trees from ladders, which is extremely dangerous because you can’t get away from the tree or branch when it falls. If you’re felling a tree in an urban area, you are invariably felling them around electrical wires. Electrocution is the No. 2 cause of death among tree care workers.”

Many workers lack basic knowledge of tree felling and how to use a chainsaw safely especially if they use them occasionally on the job. The training is designed to develop good habits and establish safe practices.

Understanding the limits and capabilities of chainsaws is essential to proper operation. Chainsaws have come a long way in the last 30 years with the addition of anti-kickback devices, safety chain and vibration dampening technology. Knowing exactly how to release tension on limbs when bucking and felling trees can prevent accidents. A chain traveling at approximately 55 miles per hour propels the cutter to strike at least 40 times per second can cause a lot of damage quickly.

The chainsaw safety and technical tree felling class will be offered by the Troup County and Spalding County Extension services in partnership with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Two Rivers Resource Conservation and Development Council. Space is limited, so please call to register by Sept. 21.

Classroom and hands on experience will be conducted at the West Point Dam Resource Manager’s office on West Point Lake on Thursday, Sept. 24, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Lunch will be provided. There is no cost to the training. The office is just west of R. Shaefer Heard camp ground on 500 Resource Managers Road just north of West Point on U.S. Highway 29.

Contact Brian Maddy at 706-883-1675 (Troup County) or Wade Hutcheson at 770-467-4225 (Spalding County) for registration information.

What’s going on in Extension?

Market on Main begins Saturday mornings from 8 to 10. Come by and enjoy the pick of the day. Carmike Cinemas LaGrange 10 movie theater parking lot.

Aug. 17: Troup County Association of Beekeepers: Rory Richardson of Natural Resource Conservation Service will be the guest speaker; 7 p.m. at the Ag Center.

Aug. 18: Troup County Cattleman: Forages and Nutrition; Dr. Kim Mullinex, guest speaker; 7 p.m. Tuesday; program will start at 7:30 p.m. The $6 meal will be served at 7 p.m.; Ag Center.

If you have any questions or concerns, stop by or call the office.

Brian Maddy is the ANR Agent for Troup County Extension. The Troup County Extension office is located at 114 Church St. in LaGrange and may be reached at 706-883-1675, Monday–Friday 8 a.m.–noon and 15 p.m.