Chainsaw danger – Kickback

Chainsaw kickback danger
Chainsaw chain showing top quadrant of bar that is dangerous zone for kickback conditions.

Treetec have a lot of enquiries during our nationally accredited chainsaw training courses particularly regarding the dreaded ‘Kickback’. We cover this topic in detail during our chainsaw course but here is the short version of the story…

A chainsaw chain travels at about 90km per hour around the guide bar. On each ‘cutter link’ there is the cutting tooth and just in front of it a depth gauge which ensures the tooth only cuts off about .65mm of wood as it passes over the log.

As these cutting teeth go forward along the top of the cutter bar and down over the “top quadrant” the teeth change angles as they curve forwards over the bar suddenly exposing the full height of the depth gauge to catch the wood.

This sudden angle exposure allows the depth gauge to grab as much as 5mm of timber (approx. 5 times it’s normal ability whilst moving straight along the bar).  If this happens the chain may stop moving forwards at 90km/h and the guide bar will start moving up and backwards at 90km/h towards you!!!

“Pull in” or “push out” / “push back” kickback can also occur where the chain can get pinched into the wood or you hit a solid structure such as a nail immediately stopping chain rotation and allowing the whole saw to be pushed of pulled at high speed.

There is no stopping this reactive force with your arms, it’s too quick. The chain may stop rotating around the cutter bar because of the chain break mechanism but that solid metal bar with teeth is still travelling at you with speed. If you operate with your body over the kickback line the bar can strike your neck or head.

So here are the rules:

  • Don’t contact the top quadrant of the cutter bar with anything (except once you have safely bored into a log)
  • Don’t get the bar pinched, particularly the tip
  • Keep your head out of the path of kickback, try and keep your head so you can read the brand name on the left side of the guide bar
  • Always wear a helmet with a beak (peak) this slows the bar down as it embeds itself in your forehead, face shields are a great idea too
Chainsaw danger - Chainsaw Cut to the Leg
Chainsaw danger – Cut to the left thigh is the most common chainsaw related injury. Treetec chainsaw training increases awareness of chainsaw dangers.

Chainsaws present lots of risk but if you operate safely and follow some basic rules (including the ones above) they can be used easily and safely by almost anyone.

Please visit our chainsaw courses webpage or contact us for more information on when and where our 1 day certified chainsaw courses are held around Melbourne or how to book.