How to Use a Chainsaw Safely 

Keeping your chainsaw chain sharp plays a key role in the overall safe operation of the device by reducing the risk of kickbacks and operator fatigue. 

However, there are many other factors that come into play with chainsaws to ensure safety is paramount at all times - the use of any mechanical appliance requires that individuals take suitable precautions to avoid the risk of injury. 
In an ongoing effort to provide a suitable level of protection to chainsaws, many manufacturers have added various additional safety features to their latest models, some of which have become legal requirements.  

Here's some information about a few important features which can keep you safer when using an electric or petrol chainsaw.

Safety Throttle

A safety throttle is operated by a trigger that is located directly underneath the chainsaw handle are the rear of the saw of the device. When this trigger is pulled the engine of the chainsaw is locked in idle and the chain will not move. This feature is very important as it prevents the saw from being activated accidentally. These locking devices are an essential requirement on any chainsaw when it comes to personal safety. The throttle can stop a chain from rotating if the trigger is pushed accidentally by a branch or other obstacle.

Depth Gauge

The chain of the chainsaw is also made to provide some level of safety. The chain should fit properly within the guide bar in the saw. A major safety concern with the chain is the amount of depth gauge. The depth gauge relates to the depth that a chain tooth cuts into the wood being worked on. If the depth gauge is not correct the operator runs the risk of losing complete control over the device. Always follow the guidelines in the instruction manual that came with your chainsaw to ensure you are using the correct depth gauge setting.

Chain Catcher

This device keeps the chain from hitting the user of the chainsaw in the case of a derailed or broken chain. There is also a rear hand guard which serves the purpose of protecting a person's hand from a broken chain. A scabbard is also made to cover the sharp edges of the chain. 

Anti-Vibration System

One of the most important features that are found in modern chainsaws is an anti-vibration system. This helps to prevent a physical condition known as hand-arm vibration syndrome. The syndrome occurs as a result of constant vibration on a particular area of the body. The affected area loses circulation and in some cases turns white. An anti-vibration system helps to prevent this issue affecting people who use a chainsaw frequently. Some chainsaws are even made with heated handles which increases circulation to fingers to prevent this condition.


Kickback is something which anyone using a chainsaw should be aware of and make every effort to avoid. This frightening and potentially very dangerous motion results in the chainsaw being thrown backwards or upwards towards the operator when a chain tooth near the tip or 'nose' of the chainsaw guide bar catches on wood without cutting through it. This results in a total loss of control which can have potentially fatal consequences.

It's crucial to always pay attention to the position of the chainsaw bar's nose to avoid the risk of injury. Kickback often occurs when the tip of the bar unintentionally comes into contact with another log of piece of wood, other the main one being cut by the operator. 

Some types of chainsaw chain pose less of a risk of kickback due to the way they are constructed. There are many measures which can be taken to reduce the risk of kickback including running the chainsaw at full power during cutting, ensuring correct chain tension, standing to the side of the cutting path, setting the correct depth gauge, keeping the chain sharpened and installing a safety tip over the kickback zone on the guide bar.

Chain Brake

When activated a chain brake will stop the chainsaw operating almost immediately and is an excellent protection against kickback. The brake handle is usually located on the top of the device and is activated automatically when the chainsaw detects the motion related to kickback or if the user's wrist comes into contact with the kickback guard, either by the force of inertia or intentionally pushing the brake handle forward.

Safety Clothing

It is definitely wise to buy some safety clothing if you use a chainsaw regularly - even if you only use your device occasionally, it's worth investing in some suitable safety wear. A wide range of safety boots, protective gloves, hearing protection, helmets and clothing are available to buy online or in high street stores. It's also advisable to have a first aid kit close to hand.

You should never operate a chain saw when you are under the influence of alcohol or any drug - complete alertness is crucial at all times when using a chainsaw. Before using one of these power tools you should always check it over fully to ensure  all the parts are working and everything is in good condition. If using an electric chainsaw you obviously need to take extreme care to ensure the power cable is kept well way from the cutting chain.

In order to remain as safe as possible at all times, every chainsaw user should ensure that the safety features discussed above are fully maintained and operational on their chainsaws. Many manufacturers also provide helpful information in their instruction manuals about of the type of chain which is best to use on their particular brand of chainsaw.