Chainsaw Work: The Basics are Complex

You and your crew might want to check out the lessons

from these two recent chainsaw incidents

Chainsaw Kick-Back Incident

Sawyer’s Leg is Cut Despite Wearing Chaps

Saw Blog Photo 1

A recreation of this chainsaw kick-back incident. Photo taken in the exact location where this incident occurred.

The sawyer positioned himself into place with his left leg forward and right leg back and proceeded to cut the base of a three-inch conifer sapling.

As the sawyer placed the tip of the running chainsaw bar next to the sapling, the tip contacted a log that was resting against the tree, which caused the chainsaw to kick back abruptly.

As the saw bar kicked back, it contacted the lower portion of the sawyer’s protective chainsaw chaps.

The fast-moving chain cut into the chaps, causing the chaps to be pulled quickly toward the inside of the sawyer’s lower left leg, allowing for the lower leg to become exposed to the still-moving chain.

Upon pulling up the pant leg, the sawyer noticed a two-inch horizontal cut, just above the top of the boot line.


  • Chainsaw chaps do work when properly worn and fitted.
  • If chaps are worn loosely, they will not be able to do their job. If there is a chain strike, the chain will shift the chaps to the side, expose the legs, and result in a cut.

Tighten chap leg straps so chaps are snug around legs.

Bucking and Limbing Boot Strike

A need to focus on good body mechanics, attention to bar tip,

and slowing down with a focus on your procedural process

Saw Blog Photo 2

Where the chainsaw contacted the sawyer’s boot.

The sawyer was limbing the downhill or offside of the tree from the uphill or onside of the tree. The sawyer placed his left foot up on the bole of the tree while cutting the offside branch. This sequence created an unusual footing position, which brought the sawyer’s left foot up to their waist height, under the chainsaw power head.

During the cutting sequence, the chainsaw came into contact with the sawyer’s boot while running under power in mid-cut. The sawyer immediately stopped the chainsaw, ceasing operations, and reported the incident to his squad leader.

“I talked with the sawyer today and discussed the mishap,” informed the Supervisor. “His reflection was super positive as to why this event happened and replied that it really came down to being in a hurry and a lapse in focus. The cutting group had an AAR later that day and discussed the mishap and assured needing good body mechanics, attention to the bar tip, power head positioning, and slowing down with focus on your procedural process.”


  • The sawyer had their left foot up on the bole while cutting downward through the offside with arms outside of a comfortable position. This caused the bar to follow a path directly to the sawyer’s foot.
  • Even though the sawyer was watching the chainsaw bar placement, the foot positioning with one foot up high and in the cutting path, resulted in a boot strike.

Take the time to adjust your position.

4 thoughts on “Chainsaw Work: The Basics are Complex

  1. Pingback: how to use a chain saw so it doesnt kick back – Saw Saw Tool

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.