A Guide to Log Splitter Safety
A log splitter can help you break apart logs for firewood with minimal time and effort required compared to traditional methods like cutting with an axe. While many people associate axe chopping with a certain idealised rustic and romantic lifestyle, the work is certainly backbreaking and requires far too much effort than what is required. Log splitters allow you to process logs for firewood without the gruelling work that is often expected of chopping wood.
It is in our nature to find ways to simplify and reduce the work that we do, and making firewood is no exception. A log splitter is basically a firewood-making machine. The machine might look complicated, but its function is actually quite simple. A series of mechanical and hydraulic parts working in tandem make this work possible. The engine supplies the power required by the log splitter. Most log splitters are powered by an engine, rather than a motor. Electricity alone isn't enough to break all but the smallest logs. The oil pump provides the oil that is then pumped at high pressures to the valve. The valve, at the operator's direction, then propels the cylinder to split the log in half.
Log splitters are powerful, dangerous machines. One slip-up could have disastrous consequences. All log splitter users must familiarise themselves with the safety guidelines in order to ensure safe and proper performance and a safe environment for all employees. It doesn't matter whether you're relatively new or experienced, it is vital that you equip yourself with the knowledge requisite to a safe and proper log splitter operation. Always keep in mind that safety should be your top priority.
One of the ways you can ensure safety is to properly align the log splitter's specifications to your job requirements. Not all log splitters are the same. You can't use an electric log splitter to split a mammoth log in half, while a petrol-powered one will be too powerful for small logs.
Here are a few safety pointers to get you started. The tips you find here could end up saving your life.
1. Read the user manual
Manufacturers provide user manuals for a reason. One of the easiest yet most important things you can do is to read the user manual prior to operating a log splitter. The manual should contain everything you need to know about the machine: technical specifications, operational instructions, safety guidelines, among other things. Always heed the safety warnings and labels.
2. Wear personal protective gear
Log splitters are dangerous machines, and they also have a lot of moving parts. Always wear personal safety gear before operating a log splitter. Here is the basic protective gear you should wear.
Hearing protection: Unless you're working with an electric log splitter, you will be dealing with a lot of sounds. Always wear hearing protection like earmuffs or earbuds to prevent long-term hearing damage.
Eye protection: Wood chunks and other debris buried in the wood can fly out of the log as it is split in half. Eye protection such as eye goggles and full-face shields protect your eyes and face from any possible flying projectile.
Safety gloves: Heavy-duty work gloves help improve your grip and protect your hands from scratches and other injuries that might result from handling logs and the machine.
Steel-toed boots; Steel-toed boots offer great protection against accidental falls and drops. They also help improve your footing while handling heavy logs. Avoid wearing light footwear when using a log splitter.
Apart from the aforementioned safety gear, you should never wear loose-fitting clothing and remove all pieces of jewellery and dangling items like neckties to avoid getting caught up in the machinery.
3. Stay sober
Under no circumstances should you operate a log splitter while intoxicated or of an unsound mind. Prior to log splitter operation, you should not consume substances that may alter or impair your mind, constitution and other motor skills. Similarly, do not use a log splitter when sick. Listen to your body's signals to know when you are fit to use a log splitter.