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Chainsaw Cuts and Kick-back!

Background– Noggin INC1335 28/08/18  

A tree feller was clearing his escape route through some scrubby undergrowth. The chainsaw grabbed and kicked back cutting through his chaps (pictured below) and into his thigh. The tree feller underestimated the tension in the sapling he cut (Mingi-mingi – known for its springiness). Using the top-side of the chainsaw bar caused the chain to pinch in the cut, and the kick back reaction.

Heavy Undergrowth?

Heavy undergrowth is common in NZ’s plantation forests and it can hinder movement and visibility, both of which are safety critical in felling operations.

Therefore, properly clearing undergrowth is necessary as it improves access to the trees under felling and increases the visibility of the tree crowns and any overhead hazards.

Nonetheless, clearing undergrowth is also tiring work so targets need to reflect the additional time requirements to do the job safely.

Focus on Technique!

  • Hold the chainsaw firmly with both hands.

  • Always be aware of the location of the guide bar tip.

  • Do not use the upper tip of the guide bar.

  • Be especially careful when cutting light limbs or material that may catch the chain.

  • Never cut upwards or into the compression (a cut that pinches together).

  • Make sure the chain is tensioned and sharpened and that depth gauges are set to the manufacturer’s specified levels.

View this article in Safety Bulletin 116