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What Is Chainsaw Kickback?

Chainsaw kickback normally occurs when a chain tooth near the nose, or tip of the chainsaw's guide bar either catches on wood without cutting through it (often another log or branch), or when the wood closes in and pinches the chainsaw chain in the cut. This can violently throw the bar (along with a still fast moving chain) backwards and/or upwards in an arc motion towards the operator in a dangerous loss of control with potentially fatal consequences.

It is estimated that around 1 in 12 forestry accidents are caused by chainsaw kickback, it is a serious potential problem and precautionary steps should always be taken to avoid, or reduce the possibility of it occuring.

How to avoid chainsaw kickback

All chainsaw chains can kickback, the key is to be aware and alert at all times to guard against a possible kickback reaction, and wear the correct chainsaw safety clothing to help minimise the risk of cuts.

Always be aware of the position of your chainsaw bar's nose, cutting in close proximity to other logs or branches is a very common scenario for kickback if the chain nicks another piece of wood.

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.

Narrow nose chainsaw bars, such as the Oregon Double Guard range, are designed for maximum kickback safety.

For further reading and information, see the Chainsaw Maintenance and Safety Manual from Oregon.

Download the Oregon Chainsaw Maintenance and Safety Manual

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