Law pushes chainsaw users to get training

Using chainsaw to chop up large tree trunk
Using chainsaws demands protective clothing and good knowledge of procedures

Forestry and other workers encouraged to learn safety procedures in bid to cut the 300 accidents a year

Anyone planning to chop down trees or even cut up logs with a chainsaw could need a licence and possible special training after new regulations were introduced for forestry and other workers.

At the beginning of this year a man died from neck wounds after trying to prune a tree with a chainsaw and there are 300 serious chainsaw accidents a year in France – with one of three of them involving serious leg injury.

The regulation incites companies and workers to learn proper safety procedures in chainsaw use and get a licence as is already the case in Belgium, Italy and Luxembourg. Companies in many other countries including the UK ban chainsaw work unless the worker has done training.

Brought into law on December 5, the law encourages training in one of the 11 certified training centres in France and a day of training will average about €200.

Many full-time forestry and landscape workers will already have been trained and hold the European Chainsaw Certification, which is recognised in nine countries and backed by the European Forestry and Environmental Skills Council.

The training centre at Meymac in Corrèze offers training on Saturdays that covers not only proper usage but also proper clothing, with chainsaw protective trousers being able to stop the chainsaw blades doing major damage and goggles and ear protectors being strongly recommended.

It has four levels, from learning simple safety rules, to cutting trees up to 40cm in diameter, cutting larger trees and the fourth level for difficult situations or uprooted trees.

Occasional chainsaw users may not see the need, but pressure from insurers and safety groups could see the regulation extended to private individuals.

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