Logging Safety: A Field Guide

Section Two: Chain Saw Safety

  • The chain saw is one of the most efficient, productive and dangerous portable power tools in any industry!
  • Proper operation and maintenance will increase both safety and productivity!
  • Chain saws must be in good condition and inspected before each shift.
  • Chain saws must be secured when transporting in vehicle or equipment cab. Unsecured tools can be a hazard to the operator, especially if a rollover occurs.

Review the operator's manual and follow the manufacturer's instructions!

Chain Saw Injury Locations (U.S.)

Note: most injuries occur on the lower left leg and thigh, the left arm and the back of the left hand. Be sure to protect your body.


Know the Safety Features of a Chain Saw

  • Side cover plates: intact
  • Throttle trigger
  • Muffler
  • Hand guard
  • Chain catcher
  • Anti-vibration handle system
  • Throttle trigger lockout
  • Chain brake (gasoline only)

Make sure that all safety features that are on the saw are functional.

Always check before each use!

Before Starting Your Chain Saw Always

  • Check for properly sharpened chain.
  • Check controls, chain tension, bolts, and handles.
  • Adjust according to manufacturer's instructions.
  • Fuel at least 10 ft. from ignition sources.
  • Start at least 10 ft. away from fuel.
  • Start with chain brake on, while standing on level ground or firmly supported.
  • Use approved metal or plastic fuel containers. Metal safety cans are the best choice.

While Running Your Chain Saw Always

  • Keep hands on handles.
  • Maintain secure footing.
  • Eliminate cutting overhead.
  • Keep your cutting area and your retreat path free of obstacles.
  • Shut saw off or release throttle prior to retreating
  • Shut saw off or engage the chain brake if the terrain is hazardous or if you are traveling more than 50 ft.

Chain Saw Maintenance

  • Read and study the operator's manual.
  • Follow manufacturer's instructions.
  • Inspect, operate, adjust, sharpen, maintain and repair regularly.

A sharp and well maintained saw increases production, decreases fatigue and helps prevent injury and accident.

Chain Saw Operation Checklist

  • Do you inspect your saw at the beginning of each shift?
  • Are the safety features of your chain saw working properly?
  • Is your saw adjusted and used according to the manufacturer?
  • Do you fuel your saw at least 10 feet from ignition sources?
  • Do you start your saw at least 10 feet from the fuel sources?
  • Do you start your saw with the chain brake on and firmly supported or on the ground?
  • Do you keep both hands on the saw and your footing secure?
  • Do you keep your cutting area and retreating path free of obstacles?
  • Do you avoid cutting overhead?
  • Do you shut off the saw release or throttle before you retreat?
  • Do you shut off the chain saw or engage the chain brake if the terrain is hazardous or if you are moving more than 50 feet?