Chainsaw Safety

Chainsaw safety

Kickback Safety Precautions !Warning! Kickback may occur when the nose or tip of the guide bar touches an object, or when the wood closes in and pinches the saw chain in the cut.

It is probably the largest factor in chainsaw safety. Tip contact in some cases may cause a lightning fast reverse reaction, kicking the guide bar up and back towards the operator. Pinching the saw chain along the top of the guide bar may push the guide bar rapidly back towards the operator.
Either of these reactions may cause you to lose control of the saw which could result in serious personal injury.


Section 5.12 of ANSI B 175.1-1991 sets certain performance and design criteria related to chainsaw kickback and chainsaw safety. STIHL has developed a colour code system using green and yellow to help you select a powerhead, bar and chain combination that complies with the kickback requirements of the ANSI Standard.

Do not rely exclusively upon the safety devices built into your saw. You are the single greatest influence in chainsaw safety. As a chainsaw user, you should take several steps to keep your cutting jobs free from accident or injury.

1 With a basic understanding of kickback, you can reduce or eliminate the element of surprise. Sudden surprise contributes to accidents. Chainsaw safety requires thought and attention.

2 Keep a good firm 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 chainsaw handles. A firm grip will help you reduce kickback and maintain control of the saw. Don’t let go.

3 Make sure the area in which you are cutting is free from obstructions. Do not let the nose of the guide bar contact a log, branch, or any other obstruction while you are operating the saw.

4 Cut at high engine speeds.

5 Do not overreach or cut above shoulder height.

6 Follow manufacturer’s sharpening and maintenance instructions for the saw chain.

7 Only use replacement bars and chains specified by the manufacturer or the equivalent.

8 Reduced kickback bars and low kickback chains are designed to reduce the risk of kickback injury. Ask your STIHL dealer about these devices.

B. Other Safety Precautions

1 Do not operate a chainsaw with one hand! Serious injury to the operator, helpers, bystanders, or any combination of these persons may result from one handed operation. A chainsaw is intended to be used with two hands.

2 Do not operate a chainsaw when you are fatigued.

3 Use safety footwear; snug-fitting clothing; protective gloves; and eye, hearing, and head protection devices.

4 Use caution when handling fuel. Move the chainsaw at least 10 feet (3 m) from the fueling
point before starting the engine.

5 Do not allow other persons to be near the chainsaw when starting or cutting with the
chainsaw. Keep bystanders and animals out of the work area.

6 Do not start cutting until you have a clear work area, secure footing, and a planned retreat path from the falling tree.

7 Keep all parts of your body away from the saw chain when the engine is running.

8 Before you start the engine, make sure that the saw chain is not contacting anything.

9 Carry the chainsaw with the engine stopped, the guide bar and saw chain to the rear, and the exhaust/muffler away from your body.

10 Do not operate a chainsaw that is damaged, improperly adjusted, or not completely and securely assembled. Be sure that the saw chain stops moving when the throttle trigger is released.

11  Shut off the engine before setting the chainsaw down.

12 Use extreme caution when cutting small size brush and saplings because slender material may catch the saw chain and be whipped toward you or pull you off balance.

13 When cutting a limb that is under tension be alert for spring back so that you will not be struck when the tension in the wood fibers is released.

14 Keep the handles dry, clean, and free of oil or fuel mixture.

15 Operate the chainsaw only in well-ventilated areas.

16 Do not operate a chainsaw in a tree unless you have been specifically trained to do so.

17 All chainsaw service, other than the items listed in the Owner’s Manual maintenance instructions, should be performed by competent chainsaw service personnel. (For example, if improper tools are used to remove the flywheel or if an improper tool is used to hold the flywheel in order to remove the clutch, structural damage to the flywheel could occur and could be subsequently cause the flywheel to burst).

18 When transporting your chainsaw, use the appropriate chain guard (scabbard).