What Not to DO With a Chainsaw? The Ultimate Protection Guide

Richard McMann

Knowledge Based

chainsaw dos and don'ts explainedIs getting injured by a chainsaw a huge fear of yours? Believe me, you are not alone.

The number of people who get into chainsaw-related accidents each year averages about 28,000 to 36,000.

We don’t mean to scare you with this statistic. The brighter side is that these accidents can be avoided by following a few easy tips and safety measures.

After reading this guide, you will become an expert at what not to do with a chainsaw, and save yourself from serious injuries. 

To make things easier, we have listed down five chainsaw dos and don’ts and explained why each of these actions can prove to be dangerous to you and others around you.

What Not to DO With a Chainsaw? The Ultimate Guide 

Personal protective gear or PPG can make all the difference in the world when it comes to operating a chainsaw. This is because these are designed to cover all body parts that are prone to injuries. The following checklist mentions the different kinds of protective gear that you should purchase:

  • Safety glasses to protect your eyes
  • A durable helmet that sits tightly around your head
  • A face shield to protect the rest of your face
  • Hearing aids to prevent noise damage (chainsaws can be extremely noisy)
  • Cut-resistant, ergonomic, and thick gloves
  • Cut-resistant boots with strong grips that prevent skidding
  • Thick pants that can protect your legs from getting badly injured
  • Safety vest that is visible from afar

If you wear all of these while operating a chainsaw, even if you do get into an accident, the consequences won’t be too serious. You may get minor abrasions, but they will heal quickly, and you can get back to work in no time.

Don’t Indulge in Tasks Beyond Your Expertise Level

When it comes to operating heavy and advanced equipment like gas chainsaws, you must be trained in the tasks that you plan to do. If you are a beginner, you should start with low-risk tasks. High-risk tasks that include cutting on steep slopes or unstable ground are only recommended for experienced individuals.

When you are learning how to operate a chainsaw, always use it while sitting down. Turning it on while standing up can be quite dangerous due to common hazards like a kickback, which are discussed in more detail below. 

Some of the most risk-involving chainsaw operating positions involve standing on a ladder or using it above shoulder level. 

It is also recommended that you accompany an experienced individual who has complete know-how about chainsaws, especially when you are starting with one. Avoid experimenting with the tool on your own.

There are a lot of chainsaw training courses that you can take in case you don’t know any experienced individuals who can teach you. Only when you have developed sufficient expertise, should you start using the device independently. 

Don’t Use a Damaged Chainsaw

Before operating a chainsaw, it is imperative that you check all the controls and switches, and make sure that everything is in good working condition. If the safety devices are even slightly damaged, always get them fixed before using the tool.

The chain, bolts, and handle should have adequate tension to prevent dangerous accidents. A chain that is too loose can easily come off, which increases the chances of you cutting the wrong area. A chain that is too tight can also cause premature wear and tear. 

Keep a lookout for the lubrication reservoir level. It should be full or at least almost full if you want to prevent accidents caused by friction. Avoid using used motor oil and always opt for the best bar and chain oil that is designed for chainsaws to be on the safe side.

The chain should be sharp to ensure both accuracy and safety. Using a dull blade will not only require a large amount of effort, but it will also wear out the chainsaw. Keep a blade sharpener at hand, especially if you plan to use your chainsaw regularly.

Don’t Operate a Chainsaw in an Area With Obstacles

Make sure that your work area is clear before you start using your chainsaw. No matter what the task, your workstation should be free from obstacles. There shouldn’t be any people around, except for your helpers or peers who are assisting you in the project. 

Since chainsaws are mostly used outdoors due to the sound and mess they create, you will need to put in a little extra effort to clear the area. You will need to get rid of items like twigs, debris, rocks, and other such obstacles before you begin your task.

One of the most common chainsaw tips that experienced individuals give is to stay away from dirt. This is because cutting into the dirt will dull the cutters, stretch the chain, and wear out the chainsaw much faster. 

Look out for metal objects as well, particularly small ones like nails and spikes. Since they are not as visible on the ground, the chances of you cutting into them are higher. 

Don’t Use a Chainsaw Without Planning Ahead

When you learn a new skill, you just want to get out there and experiment with it. Nobody wants to listen to boring lectures given by experienced individuals. After all, we have all heard the saying that practice makes perfect. 

Unfortunately, in the case of dangerous tools like chainsaws, it is important to carefully listen to the lectures before you go out in the field. If you start using the chainsaw without a plan, the risk of you hurting yourself is very high.

For example, if you are using your chainsaw for felling, you need to know the direction in which the tree is going to fall. If you start cutting it randomly and it falls right on you, you will get seriously injured.

Analyze the worst case scenarios as well, and come up with plans on how you are going to deal with them.

Let’s take a detailed look into some of the things to avoid while chainsawing by Chainsaw Matt:


What are the dangers of chainsaws?

Some of the most common dangers of chainsaws have to do with the noise and air pollution they create. They can cause hearing loss and carbon monoxide poisoning in individuals who do not use protective gear. Another common danger is kickback.

How do you not use a chainsaw?

When searching for things to avoid while cutting with chainsaw, the most common response you will get is to avoid cutting on the ground. This is because each time you put the object on the ground and start cutting it, you will most likely cause the device to sink into the ground, which can be quite dangerous. You can still dig a trench with a chainsaw though.

Can you ruin a chainsaw chain?

If you use your battery chainsaw for a purpose that it is not intended to fulfill, or you are not careful with its operation, you can damage the chain. Avoid cutting anything other than wood, and always maintain adequate tension to keep the chain in good shape.

What causes chainsaw kickback?

Kickback occurs when the chainsaw is forced back toward its operator, which can cause irreversible damage to your skin. The most common causes of kickback include cutting with the nose, pinching, and lack of stability while operating the tool.

What are the most common chainsaw accidents?

One of the most common chainsaw accidents is kickbacks, which can be caused due to a range of actions. Most chainsaw accidents happen due to carelessness or lack of focus, which can sometimes be fatal.

Can a chainsaw cut a human?

Chainsaws are sharp enough to cut through a human. They can easily cut through flesh but may have a hard time cutting through bones if the blades are not sharp. For this reason, it is important to be extremely careful around them.

Final Takeaways

Chainsaws are dangerous devices, and operating them without any prior experience and proper knowledge can prove to be hazardous for both you and others around you. 

If you follow the five chainsaw don’ts given above carefully, the chances of you getting into chainsaw-related accidents will become close to none. We also recommend working under the supervision of an experienced individual, especially if it is your first time with a chainsaw. 

Keep in mind that your mental peace can also have a huge impact on your chainsaw operation. Make sure that your head is clear and that you are fully concentrated and focused.  

We hope that after reading our article, you will become perfectly clear on what not to do with a chainsaw.

Richard McMann
Follow Me