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 Chainsaw kickbacks:


Kickback occurs when the tip of the saw touches an object or when the wood closes and pinches the chain. Tip contact makes the chainsaw immediately reverse and pushes it up and back toward you (rotational). Pinching causes a movement straight back toward you (linear). Either way, you may lose control of the saw.


How to reduce a kickback


  • Set up the worksite to avoid accidental contact with other objects during cutting

  • Use proper cutting methods to avoid  pinching the bar

  • Use the chain brake, make it a habit

  • Properly sharpen the chain


Basic safety rules

Chains can travel at speeds of 75 mph with 600 teeth per second passing any given point—too fast for you to rely on your reaction time to prevent an injury. To control the chainsaw properly:

  • Don’t “drop-start” a saw.

  • ALWAYS use both hands gripped firmly on the chainsaw

  • Keep your right hand on the rear handle

  • Keep your thumb wrapped around the top handle bar 

  • Hold the chainsaw down and to the side to keep your body out of the cutting plane

  • Clear the work area of trip hazards and stagger your feet securely while you work

  • Don’t cut over your head or while standing on a ladder

  • You can’t rely on your reaction time to prevent a chainsaw injury

  • Personal protective equipment is the only thing between your body and the chainsaw

  • Avoid loose clothing, jewelry, or loose hair around the moving chain

  • Use a hard hat to protect you from falling limbs

  • Wear hearing protection—chainsaw noises can exceed 110 decibels

  • Utilize safety glasses and a face shield to protect your eyes from flying debris

  • Make use of gloves with a good gripping surface help you control the saw

  • Use chaps with balistic nylon fibers that cover your whole leg and overlap your ankle

  • Wear boots with layers of balistic nylon in them to stop the chain


Read the chainsaw manufacturer’s instructions and take advantage of  hands-on chainsaw training programs. Inspections and maintenance are critical keep the chainsaw clean and in good working order. Sharpen the teeth and keep the chain lubricated and under proper tension for the best and safest cuts.

Training, site preparation, safe work practices, and wearing the proper safety equipment can prevent chainsaw injuries and fatalities. You, the chainsaw operator, can control these factors before each and every cut.

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