Do you need a license to operate a chainsaw?

Are you using a chainsaw at your workstation? Then simply you sometimes need to demonstrate your experienced working with a chainsaw to get a license.

Just like any other power tool, chainsaws pose danger to people, especially the person operating it. Due to the high-level sharp cutters on the chainsaw and operated with a high-level power energies like gas powered or electric power chainsaws, there is high probability for accidents with a chainsaws. It is a kind of tool that you should never use mindlessly—you have to be physically and mentally alert as any wrong move can escalate to a dangerous situation, or worse, fatality.

Do you need a license to operate a chainsaw?

Government agencies all over the world acknowledge that the major risks of chainsaw operations should be controlled to lessen accidents and casualties. With the widespread use of chainsaws as a necessary tool in many workplaces, agencies, and households, necessary rules have been implemented, although these vary depending on your regions, country or state.

For example, Australia requires its sawyers to undergo a nationally-accredited course and get a statement of attainment. Aside from this requirement, all chainsaw operators, even those handling the better chainsaws, should prove that they are consistently able to conduct chainsaw operations safely and that their skills are up-to-date. How? They are assessed from time to time and issued with an accredited “chainsaw ticket”. It expires every three years and they would have to undergo the assessment again to ensure work safety and maximum output. The concept of 3 years duration for improving the ability of handling the chainsaws over time and it was implemented by the state forestry authorities to do their operations perfectly.

In the UK, training is also required by law. In fact, the Health and Safety Executive has an official document that instructs employers and informs operators on how to control risks in the workplace, fitness of chainsaw operators, new and young workers, and required personal protective equipment. But aside from these requirements, there is no rule or provision to acquire an official chainsaw operating license for the sawyers.

The U.S. Forest Service has a National Saw Policy, but it only covers sawyers who are operating on lands managed by the agency. According to the Forest Service official website, the national saw policy “enables the development of standalone cooperator and volunteer training and certification programs, instructors and evaluators, and ensures nationally consistent training, evaluation and certification requirements for all.” But aside from this, there is no official license required for individuals and other hired chainsaw operators across the US.

However, you should keep in mind that the government still advises all chainsaw operators, enthusiast and more importantly new users to undergo a proper training and if available, get an official certificate. They highlight safety precautions, the need to always learn the operator’s manual of newly purchased chainsaw, use of personal protective equipment, and proper maintenance of chainsaws.

So do you really need a license?

It depends. As previously mentioned, it depends on your location and the nature of your chainsaw use. For other countries, only officially hired chainsaw operators would be required to obtain a national license; others do not require it. Contact your local or regional agency that handles the law or regulations on the use of chainsaws to ensure you are following the standard requirements for chainsaw operations.

But always keep in mind that whether your national law requires a license/permit or not, your safety should always be your priority. Hence, before using operating a chainsaw, make sure you undergo the proper training, read the manual of your chainsaw, and have durable and dependable personal protective equipment.

With power tools like chainsaws, it’s better to be sure than expose yourself to high risks. Always remember that training, caution and protection can save you from problems and dangers of chainsaw operations.

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