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Chainsaw Kickback Explained

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Chainsaw Kickback Explained

Kickback refers to the bounce back movement of any object. In this case, it talks about chainsaws. The upwards motion of the chainsaw guide bar causes specific injuries to the person who is using it. It happens unknowingly within a fraction of a second and causes harm to any extent.

Most of the accidents caused due to chainsaws are due to chainsaw kickback; hence we must take measures that will avoid the injuries up to a certain extent.

The primary reason that causes the kickback is that the chainsaw is not used correctly, and the techniques used for cutting are not professional or as they should be. The injuries range from small cuts at places to significant harm, which can require urgent hospitalization.

As per the studies, every year, there are around 30,000 injuries caused due to chainsaws, and among them, kickback contributes a significant share. Therefore, it is essential to use it in a certain way.

Causes of Chainsaw Kickback

There are a few reasons why kickback injuries are caused. Some of them are mentioned below-

1. Kick back zone

Chainsaw Kickback Zone

There is one piece of your chainsaw that is alluded to as the “kickback zone.” The kickback zone, which is being discussed here, is located at the chainsaw bar’s tip. As the name suggests, the chainsaw tip is the chainsaw’s well-known piece that leads to a kickback.

Since the chainsaw’s territory has the most significant kickback hazard, it is encouraged that you never utilize this piece of the chainsaw bar to cut. If you do, you will fundamentally build the odds of encountering hazardous kickback event.

Even when the chainsaw bar’s tip comes in direct contact with an article, which involves a branch or log, the kickback response is bound to happen. This is genuine regardless of whether you have outstanding amongst other appraised chainsaw models with the most wellbeing highlights.

2. Wood Pinches the Chain

At the times when you are using a chainsaw for cutting and the times at which the wood firmly closes around the chain, here lies a possibility of chainsaw kickback to happen and cause you injury.

In such cases, the best thing you can do is arrange before you cut a log or tree trunk to avoid the chain from getting squeezed. As another chainsaw client, your senses may instruct you to carve right through a tree limb or trunk in one cut.

However, that can be hazardous because of the possibility of the chain getting squeezed during the cut. Thus, you will need to perform two cuts, NOT one, to remain safe while utilizing your chainsaw.

Given below are the two most occurring situations of cutting wooden blocks and how they should be cut using the chainsaw.

Wooden Block that has Supported from Both Ends

If the situation shows a wooden block that has strong support from both the ends and the middle part is free to be cut or for using the chainsaw, then you can make your cuts in the given order:

  1. Start cutting through the top of the wood, and after reaching halfway, stop. 
  2. Then begin cutting from the bottom part of the wood and meet the first cut.

Wooden Block that has Supported from One End

If the situation shows a wooden block that has strong support from one End, which is the case with a downed tree, then you can make your cuts in the given order:

  1. Begin cutting through the bottom of the wood and reach through halfway. Then stop. 
  2. Then begin cutting through the top of the wood to reach the place where you ended the first cut.

3. Several Other Factors that Cause Chainsaw Kickback

The first two mentioned factors are the primary reasons that cause injuries and accidents related to the chainsaw.

However, apart from them, there are other factors that also somewhat contribute to the injuries caused. Hence by avoiding these mishappenings, the accidents can be eliminated, and the users can work safely.

Some other factors that may cause chainsaw kickback accidents are given below.

Maintenance

There are times when the chains are used after a long time; hence it contains several particles of dirt, dust, and corrosion that may cause kickback of the equipment due to causing injuries to the person using it.

Cutting with a Dull Chain

Using the chainsaw even after knowing that the chain is damaged or unknowingly using the equipment may lead to kickback. The chain requires essential maintenance such as cleaning or oiling, making it easy and healthy for its use.

The Chain is too Loose, Hence Low Tension

These are the times when the chain is not fully functional and requires repair. If you continue to work with a loose chain, the equipment will not cut well and cause problems while operating it, leading to injuries.

Certain parts of the Chain are Installed Incorrectly

It might happen that sometimes you try to do some repairs such as fix the loose chain or some other works and hence end up uninstalling and reinstalling some parts of the chainsaw which don’t get installed well and hence cause injuries. Therefore, if required, hire professionals for repair works if you are not sure about it.

Some Parts of the Chain are Either Cracked, Bent, or Broken

Some of the chain parts might go bad at a small pace, and it might go unnoticed by you. These small bends, cracks are caused due to sudden falls or misplacement of the equipment. Hence, it is recommended to keep the chainsaw safely and check its chain before using it.

The Angles on the Chainsaw are Sharpened Incorrectly

Chainsaw Cutting Wood

Chainsaw requires sharpening of its cutting angles after a certain amount of use. If the angles are blunt somehow where it is not required, the chainsaw may kick back and cause harm. In such cases, you must use a high-quality sharpener to sharp the angles of the chainsaw.

How to Reduce Chainsaw Kickback?

Even though using a chainsaw might look a little intimidating, the injuries can be avoided. Here are a few ways to avoid the kickback and its accidents-

  • The first and most crucial tip advice is to never cut with the tip of the chain. This is considered the “kickback zone.”
  • Continuously be wakeful and ready when utilizing the chainsaw. Never utilize a chainsaw in case you are feeling exhausted.
  • Before utilizing another chainsaw, try to peruse the working directions thoroughly. Try not to expect that each chainsaw precisely works the equivalent. Instruct yourself on the best possible approach to deal with the gear you have.
  • Take a few attempts to ensure that the chain brake on your saw works fine before you begin cutting.
  • While felling a tree (chopping it down), consistently utilize the bar’s base side to make your cuts. Never cut with the highest point of the bar.
  • Continuously know where the nose of your chainsaw is and how it is situated.
  • Be excessively careful when eliminating tree limbs. At times and conditions when the nose bar strikes anything, including stumps, shrouded branches, or logs, there are chances it will make the chainsaw kickback.
  • Do not try to use the chain saw above your shoulder as it is more likely to cause injuries. You have less command over the instrument and probably will not have the option to stop an abrupt in the reverse push of the sharp edge.
  • Use chainsaws that have restricted nose bars. Keep in mind, the bigger the nose bar is, the more prominent the possibility of encountering kickback.
  • When you are cutting a tree or crosscutting some piece of wood, make sure that first, you utilize the base of the chainsaw into the storage compartment or log. Numerous chainsaws incorporate kicking spikes to help balance out the apparatus and forestall unexpected kickbacks.
  • Give a try to using the low-kickback chain on your chainsaw.
  • Continuously wear the correct chainsaw defensive stuff and hardware to ensure yourself while utilizing a chainsaw.

Given below are a few types of equipment that can be utilized or wore while operating a chainsaw. This equipment may avoid injuries or even avoid major accidents caused due to the kickback and reduce the harm if caused.

  • Defensive eyewear can offer protection from the threat of harming the eyes.
  • Chainsaw pants are also known as chaps.
  • Gloves used for the chainsaw.
  • If you buy a helmet with a fiber shield, you will not require to buy glasses as the helmet would provide you with the eye, face, and head protection.
  • Earmuffs or earplugs to avoid noise
  • Heavy work boots or logging boots that are specially designed for chainsaw work.

A Few Basic Things to Keep in Mind While Using a Chainsaw

Make sure that you hold the equipment tightly and always keep your fingers wrapped around your chainsaw handles. IF you use one hand or loose rip, you will not get full control of the tool.

Read twice the instructions regarding the use and maintenance of chainsaws that have come with your tool and chain to keep them in proper working conditions.

Conclusion

Kickback can happen at any time and anywhere within a fraction of seconds and can cause severe injuries to the user. However, if you use it wisely, the risk of injuries can be reduced up to a great extent. 

Chainsaw kickback is the most common reason for injury caused due to chainsaws. Hence, make sure to consider all the points and read the chainsaw manual well.

Sandy Jensen
Sandy Jensen is the founder of OrganizeWithSandy and Works with Champalimaud Design where she curates and creates fresh ideas for designing and styling your life.

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