STIHL has a simple message for the Kiwi weekend warrior - take five minutes to get ready before starting any DIY.

This year for STIHL Chainsaw Safety Awareness Week, the company is keen to target the occasional chainsaw user who may not give proper consideration to keeping themselves safe.

STIHL's chainsaw safety tips:
Check that your protective clothing is complete and fitting properly. Your clothing should be snug fitting, with no loose elements getting in your way:

• Wear trousers with a reinforced cut-retardant layer or front leg protection.
• Wear protective cut-retardant footwear with non-slip soles and steel toecaps.
• Wear heavy-duty non-slip gloves, preferably in leather.
• Don't forget to wear proper head, face and eye protection as well as sound barriers (ear plugs or mufflers).

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The right gear can protect chainsaw users from a nasty injury. Photo / Supplied
The right gear can protect chainsaw users from a nasty injury. Photo / Supplied

Make sure you check your chainsaw before you start up:

• Check that all parts are intact and secure.
• Check the chain is the right tension.
• Check the chain cutters are sharp.
• Check the depth gauge settings are correct.
• Check all safety devices are in place and working.
• Check that there are no loose bolts, screws nuts or covers.

If anything's missing or damaged, don't use the chainsaw. This is especially important if
you weren't the last person to use it.

Check your work area:

• Make sure your work area is free of tripping hazards and electrical cables.
• Also keep an eye out for anyone who could enter your work area and check to make sure nothing is going to fall on you while you are working (like tree tops, etc).
• Don't forget to watch out for the weather - some conditions could make your work area hazardous.

Hold and use the chainsaw correctly:

• Keep two hands on the saw and hold it close to your body, with the body of the saw close to what you're cutting.
• Plant your feet firmly and slightly apart for balance. Never try to adjust your chain or machine while the engine is running.

Maintain your chainsaw:

• Good maintenance will extend the chainsaw's life and ensure its safe to use.
• When you finish a job make sure the air filters, sprocket cover and chain brake mechanism are free from sawdust; clean the guide bar groove; oil the holes and check everything is in place.

Enter STIHL and The Country's Chainsaw Safety Awareness Week competition and you could win The Ultimate Farmers Chainsaw.