How To Prevent a Kickback When Using a Chainsaw

Before you operate your chainsaw, there are many possible dangers you have to be aware of - the biggest of which is arguably the kickback. 

A kickback occurs when a chain tooth near the nose or the tip of the guide bar catches on wood without cutting through it, or when a piece of wood closes in and pinches the chainsaw chain. 

The result often throws the bar and chain backwards and/or upwards towards the user in a violent release of energy. 

It’s estimated that as many as 17% of all chainsaw related accidents happen due to a kickback and if you’re not taking the right precautions to avoid one then it could end fatally for you.

The good news is that modern chainsaws are equipped with safety features which are designed to combat the kickback - the biggest of which is the safety brake.

The safety brake is located in front of the top handle and, when pushed forward, immediately stops rotation of the chain by locking it in to place.

If a kickback does occur, the force will push your wrist in to this safety brake and will allow you to regain control of the saw much more easily. 

Although it’s still a risk, the chance of serious injury is reduced significantly without the chain rotating. 

You should also always wear protective chainsaw clothing, which includes a helmet with a visor, gloves, safety boots and trousers. 

These added layers of protection will help reduce any injury received by the blade should a kickback occur. 

Although these features are effective, you should never rely on them exclusively. ­­With the right training and precautions, a kickback can almost always be avoided. 

Be sure to always: 

  • Keep a good grip on the saw with both hands, the right hand on the rear handle, and the left hand on the front handle, when the engine is running. 
  • Use a firm grip with thumbs and fingers encircling the chain saw handles. 
  • Make certain that the area in which you’re cutting is free from obstructions. 
  • Do not let the nose of the guide bar contact a log, branch, or any other obstruction which could be hit while you are operating the saw. 
  • Always cut at high engine speeds. 
  • Do not overreach or cut above shoulder height. 

Different models of chainsaw cutting chains are available to suit most cutting tasks - always use the chain most suitable for your cutting requirements with the lowest kickback potential. 

You can browse our full range of chainsaws here, and if you have any questions please don’t hesitate to contact us on 01437 700123.