What Is Chainsaw Kickback? [Explained]

Chainsaws, as useful as they are, can pose fatal risks to their users. And, a bit of knowledge can save your life!

The fast moving chain cuts through wood and other hard materials easily. Imagine what damage this machine can do on flesh and bones then!

Thus, chainsaws come with safety manuals to minimize any chances of an accident. However, certain occurrences are unavoidable, unless proper measures are taken. Herein, chainsaw kickback is one of the many accidents users can suffer during work.

What Is Chainsaw Kickback?

This is how kickback occurs

Chainsaw kickback occurs when the bar of the chainsaw flies back in an arc and the user loses control of the machine. The bar, consisting of a fast moving chain is what can cause serious damage, often fatal.

This occurs when a chain tooth catches on to the wood but does not cut it. If the wood closes in on the chain and pinches it, a similar accident could happen. Such a sudden collision results in the bar shooting up or backwards, right towards the user.

There are certain zones of the chain or bar that, upon hitting wood, raises the risks of a kickback. The front zone of the chainsaw bar, or “nose” is the part that, when hitting wood alone, could have dangerous effects.

Kickbacks are more likely to occur if the user is inexperienced, and fails to hold the saw right.

How Can You Reduce The Danger?

It is very important to be extremely cautious when using a chainsaw and prior practice will always help reduce risks. One of the things a user can do is wearing safety outfits such as protective pants, gloves, hard hat helmets etc. while using a chainsaw.

This precaution can largely minimize risks. Certain chainsaws are specifically made to reduce risks of kickback. Narrow nosed chainsaws normally have a much lower risk of kickback than wide nosed ones.

As a precaution, one can buy a chainsaw that originally guarantees more safety. Added to that, certain types of chains are made for different sorts of cutting. Getting the right chain for work is one of the main actions one can perform to minimize risks.

Expertise in chainsaw usage is the most important, as that will teach one to handle the machine with care. It is necessary to position the chainsaw right, so the bar only touches the piece of wood that must be cut.

If the nose of the chainsaw somehow touches any nearby wooden structure, risks of kickback will increase drastically. This is a tip many regular users will know. However, it might be new and vital information for newbies, and this article may help raise their awareness.


At the end of the day, what really necessary for chainsaw usage is expertise. Handling such a dangerous machine requires prior knowledge and not anyone can use it without exposing themselves to great danger.

Thus, most of all, one must carry useful knowledge on these matters in order to use chainsaws right. Safety gear and proper chains could only do so much if the usage is all wrong. Possibly, with proper awareness, less lives could be lost from chainsaw kickbacks.

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