Two men cutting firewood with chainsaws, wearing protective pants, hard hats and ear protection.
Image by Sandy Repp

Wearing the proper safety equipment can prevent serious injury.

Chainsaw Safety


Each year, approximately 36,000 people are treated in hospital emergency departments for injuries from using chain saws (1).  The potential risk of injury increases after hurricanes and other natural disasters, when chain saws are widely used to remove fallen or partially fallen trees and tree branches.

General Safety 

Chainsaw Safety for Homeowners: a 2-page introduction to chainsaw safety from the New York State Department of Health, online at https://www.health.ny.gov/publications/3233.pdf

Safe Timber Harvesting: a publication intended for loggers, however, pages 1-44 cover personal protective equipment, maintaining and sharpening your chainsaw, general chainsaw safety, felling trees, and limbing and bucking.  Produced by the University of New Hampshire Cooperative Extension, in cooperation with UNH Timber Harvesting Council, UNH Timberland Owners Association, and the UNH Thompson School of Applied Sciences, online at https://extension.unh.edu/resources/representation/Resource001062_Rep1293.pdf

Work Safely with a Chainsaw:  The Indiana Woodlot Series includes this 6-page PDF that covers choosing a chain saw (including considerations of horsepower, bar length, chain type, and safety features); personal protective gear; other maintenance equipment you'll need; how to carry your chainsaw; sizing up the worksite before cutting; safe operation (including the saw's 'kickback danger zone'); and tips for working in the forest.  Published by the Indiana Dept. of Natural Resources with other partners, online at http://www.in.gov/dnr/forestry/files/02_Work_Safely.pdf

Techniques

Best Management Practices on the Cornell Cooperative Extension Forestry website include a series of articles (in PDF form) written by Tim Ard, a Game of Logging instructor. They describe chainsaw techniques that can improve your efficiency and safety.  Online at: 
http://www2.dnr.cornell.edu/ext/bmp/contents/diy/diy_chainsaw.htm

Contact

Dan Carusone
4-H Community Educator
djc69@cornell.edu
518-623-3291

Last updated May 27, 2021