How to Prevent Chainsaw Kickback and Injury

What could be the worst you expect when you are using a chainsaw – of course, none other than a kickback that might pass and inflict a serious injury to your face? Chainsaws are no less than hundreds of knives rotating around the bar with thousands of revolutions per minute around the bar; yes, you can estimate the damage they may cause. So, before you start working with your chainsaw, it is unavoidable to know its use, and especially the answer to the question ‘how to prevent chainsaw kickback and injury’?

Being a chainsaw fanatic and power tools enthusiast, I have many times come across this situation, by the grace of God I remained safe every time.

You may call it luck, however, my safety precautions and technical understanding of the term ‘kickback’ helped me a lot cope with this menace.

You cannot completely nullify the chances of kickbacks, but you can surely save yourself from the severe effects of these sudden jerks.

Therefore, before I tell you how to prevent chainsaw kickback and injury, I deem it necessary to spot light on the term ‘kickback’.

How to Prevent Chainsaw Kickback and Injury
How to Prevent Chainsaw Kickback and Injury

What is Kickback and How it Can be Dangerous?

‘Kickback’ is no less than a scary nightmare for users; you may not take my statement seriously, but this is reality and loss can be irreparable. This is a term that can be defined as a sudden jerk by the chainsaw in an upward direction. Kickback is the most common reason for the accidents associated with chainsaws.

The main cause of kickback is snagging of the chain. Because the engine continues to deliver power to the guide bar and the chain keeps on rotating, it results in the form of a kickback. It can be said that ‘the greater will be the power of the engine of the chainsaw, the severer will the effect of kickback. So, this is the reason that chainsaw gears are more desperately required while working with gas chainsaws (they possess engines with huge power).

To avoid kickbacks during your use of a chainsaw, you should understand the concept of a kickback zone. Typically, when you try to cut wood with the tip of the chainsaw, chances of kickback increase. At this point, it is easy for the tip of the chainsaw to get pinched on the cutting wood. This is called a ‘kickback zone’ and it is suggested to avoid cutting using the tip of the chainsaw.

Meanwhile, among the most common reasons for kickbacks, there comes the dullness of the tips of the chain at the top. Ill-sharpened tips of the chain are unable to penetrate deep in the wood and get snug on the surface resulting in the form of a kickback.

On the other hand, if kickback is not prevented, it can cause a serious injury that may confine you to the bed of a hospital for days or even for weeks.

How to Minimize the Effect of Kickback?

You are never sure about the kickback even when you are using a brand-new chainsaw for the first time. Whether you are using a gas-powered heavy-duty chainsaw, or you are trimming the extended branches of trees with a mini chainsaw, you need to ensure your safety. Although, you cannot fully eliminate the risk of kickback, however, you can surely adopt an approach to minimize the effect of kickbacks.

For this purpose, you should wear all recommended protective gear before you start working with the chainsaw. To further reduce the effect or intensity of the chainsaw, you should keep the cutting tips of the chainsaw chain sharp enough to cut through the hardest wood.

Having followed these simple pieces of advice you can massively minimize the losses incurred by the kickbacks.

How to Prevent Chainsaw Kickback and Injury?

Therefore, to prevent or minimize the chances of chainsaw kickback, I have some important points to share with you in the form of the following paragraphs. Having followed these precautionary measures, you will certainly be on the safer side than a user who doesn’t know about these things;

1. Read User Manual Carefully

Not only for a chainsaw, whenever you buy a mechanical tool, do not forget to give a thorough read to its user manual. However, it becomes more important in the case of a chainsaw because it is a power tool with sharp edges, and is associated with serious injuries. So, read the user manual completely before you start using your chainsaw.

2. Sharpness of Chain

The dullness of the chainsaw chain is among the top reasons that lead to kickbacks. If the edges of the chain aren’t sharp enough, you must sharpen the chainsaw. This is how, the cutting strength of the chainsaw gets better, and the chances of kickback reduce considerably.

3. Check the Chain Brake

The chain brake is among the most important components of the chainsaw – it has been placed in the machine to add to the safety of the user. Usually, a chain brake is used when you need to change the position without turning the chainsaw, but it seems to appear as a blessing in disguise when kickback occurs; you can simply apply the chain brake to minimize the effect of kickback.

4. Avoid Cutting in Kickback Zone

The kickback zone is at 90° from the bar of the chainsaw. Kickback is almost inevitable when cutting from this area of the chainsaw. So, you can simply avoid kickback using another part of the chainsaw chain to cut wood.

5. Check Inertia Activated Brake

Now, manufacturers are more concerned about the safety of users – this is the reason that most of the latest models of chainsaws have inertia-activated chain brakes. This chain brake gets automatically engaged in case of kickback.

6. Ensure your Equilibrium

Before starting to cut with a chainsaw, make sure that you are standing on a flat surface. If you are standing on an uneven surface, you may get out of balance, and kickback may happen. For instance, avoid cutting or trimming branches while standing on a ladder; especially, when you have a heavy-duty chainsaw in your hands.

Therefore, these were some important points I wanted to share with you in my answer to your question ‘how to prevent chainsaw kickback and injury.


While using any mechanical tool, it becomes necessary to take safety precautions, but this need becomes direr when it comes to using a chainsaw. Chainsaws pose additional safety risks than any other power tool, and this is the reason that you cannot afford negligence while using it.

So, considering the need of the hour, I have put a detailed answer on ‘how to prevent chainsaw kickback and injury’. Follow the aforementioned instructions, you can massively revert the chances of kickback from your chainsaw.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How do you avoid a kickback from chainsaw?

The most important precaution is to avoid cutting using the kickback zone. Secondly, do not forget to sharpen the chain of your chainsaw in time, the edges of the chain should be sharp enough to avoid snugging with the wood.

How do you protect yourself with a chainsaw?

First and foremost need is to wear all recommended safety gears; these gears protect you from any serious injury in case of kickback. Do not forget to check the brakes of chainsaw before you start working with this, you may need to apply the brake any time.

What causes a chainsaw to kickback?

The most common cause of kickback is cutting with the kickback zone. While cutting, be careful about the position of your chainsaw, minor mistake can cause an unexpected kickback.

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