What is Chainsaw Kickback? How it Happens and How to Avoid it!

chainsaw kickback

The sudden upward movement of the guide bar of a chainsaw is known as chainsaw kickback. Chainsaw kickback is a common cause of chainsaw accidents and injuries. That’s where proper cutting techniques become important. If the proper technique isn’t followed, lightening-fast chainsaw kickbacks can result in serious injuries to the operator.

There are two common situations where chainsaw kickback can occur.

The first occurrence is when the moving chain strikes an object at the tip of the guide bar. The second occurrence is when the wood closes in and pinches the chain in the middle of the cut. Both these instances will cause the guide bar of the chainsaw to kickback. The operator can lose control of the chainsaw and result in injuries to the operator and anyone standing nearby. Many factors can increase the risk of chainsaw kickback.

The following factors can increase the risk of chainsaw kickback – alone or in combination with other factors:

  • Loose tension of the saw chain
  • Improper installation of chainsaw parts
  • Loose chainsaw rivets
  • Dull chain
  • Improperly sharpened chain angles
  • Improper saw maintenance
  • Broken, bent or cracked saw chain components
  • Excessive chain depth gauge settings
  • The size of the guide bar’s nose – the longer the nose of the guide bar, the more the risk there is

What is ‘Kickback Danger Zone’?

kickback danger zone

The tip of the chainsaw guide bar is known as the “kickback danger zone.” When it touches a log or a branch, there is a danger of a sudden guide bar tip kickback reaction. The latest chainsaws come with many features to reduce this kickback. The chain brake located on the front left-hand guard is one way to reduce the kickback of a chainsaw.

Newer chainsaws also have reduced kickback chains and guide bars. You should assemble the chainsaw properly and make sure all components are functioning normally to assure the protection of yourself and the saw. It’s always recommended to use a reduced kickback chain and guide bar unless you have special training for dealing with chainsaw kickbacks.

Reducing The Risk of Chainsaw Kickback

Here are some important steps you can take to reduce the risk of chainsaw kickback:

  • Read through the operating manual before you decide to use a new chainsaw.
  • Don’t use a chainsaw when you’re tired. You should always be alert.
  • You should be cautious when cutting the branches of trees. Kickback is common when cutting branches. It can occur when the tip of the guide bar strikes logs, stumps, or hidden branches.
  • Use the underside of the bar when you are preparing a tree for felling. Avoid sawing above shoulder height. These practices are important to prevent kickback when felling and pruning branches or objects that block your way.
  • Don’t put the tip of the chainsaw guide bar against the wood. Boring the guide bar into the trunk is the best way to cut when you are felling or cross cutting branches of a tree.
  • Test the chain brake on the saw before you begin to use the tool.
  • Pay close attention to how the nose or tip of the guide bar of the chainsaw is positioned when using the saw.
  • Narrow nose bars or low kickback chainsaws are the best options when it comes to using chainsaws.
  • Wear the right clothing and protective gear to reduce the intensity of injuries. Protective eyewear, gloves, chainsaw chaps, heavy boots, hearing protection, and a hard hat are some PPE you might consider.
  • Your fingers and thumbs should be completely wrapped around the chainsaw handles when using the tool.
  • Don’t wear clothes that are too loose or too tight when operating the chainsaw.

Final Thoughts

Chainsaw kickback can be extremely dangerous and sometimes even fatal. Proper cutting techniques should be followed to reduce the risk of chainsaw kickback. Make sure you always wear the right protective gear when operating the tool.

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