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How to avoid Chainsaw kickback

Learn How to Safely Use Your Chainsaw

You can experience a kickback almost every time you use a chainsaw. Most are easy to control, but a severe kickback can cause one of the worst accidents you can have while using a chainsaw. Kickback happens when the chainsaw is suddenly thrown violently back towards the operator. It can happen while removing limbs from a tree on the ground or while cutting the trunk of a tree (bucking).

Kickback occurs when the chain is suddenly forced to stop. The most common way this happens is when the upper tip of the bar touches a tree, log or branch. Another way the chain can be stopped suddenly is when a log or a limb pinches the top of the bar and chain while cutting from below with the top of the bar.

Be aware of the reactive forces of a chainsaw. When you cut with the bottom of the bar, the chain can pull you into the work. When cutting with the top of the bar, it can push you away from the work. Your body stance and grip are determined by which part of the bar you are using.

To avoid kickback we recommend the following:

  • Minimise cutting where the bar tip may touch the log
  • Be observant when cutting through a log that the bar tip will not touch another obstacle
  • Avoid plunge cutting
  • Make sure you use a chainsaw that has a fully operational chainbrake assembly
  • Use a low kickback chain if suitable
  • Always wear suitable protective equipment

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