Kickback is one of the most common reasons behind chainsaws injuries. As a result, we should try our best to mitigate the chances of kickbacks.
I know most of the loggers say that I am operating the chainsaws for years and I know how to avoid kickback. But, in some cases, they also end up injuring themselves by kickbacks and say “It is the first time this happened” or “I don’t know how it happened, I didn’t see it coming”.
Hence, it is my adjuration to all the readers to always be careful while operating a chainsaw and always have the right knowledge on how to avoid kickbacks. It is because in some cases, kickbacks also cause fatal injuries which lead to death.
For instance, there were more than 30,000 chainsaw-related injuries in the U.S in the year 2012. Furthermore, nearly 70,000 chainsaw-related injuries are registered every year around the world, Out of which nearly 1,500 injuries are very severe and around 70 leads to death. Hence, there is a rough, 0.1% chance of death because of kickbacks.
After reading the above data I hope you got to know that kickbacks are no joke and we should not take them lightly.
But, the good part is that avoiding kickbacks is not rocket science and we can reduce kickback chances by following some basic steps. Henceforth, I will seriously recommend all our readers to go through this blog thoroughly so that you never suffer from the repercussions of a kickback.
Table of Contents
What Is Kickback And What Are The Reasons For Kickbacks
A sudden and unwanted upward motion of the chainsaw’s guide bar is known as a kickback. There are primarily two reasons for that. Firstly, when the end nose of the guide bar strikes something hard (an object through which the chain can not chew through). As a result, it is unable to chew through it and bounces in the opposite direction. Secondly, the chainsaw bounces back when the wood closes around the bar tightly and pinches it backward.
Let’s discuss these two reasons briefly and after this, we will discuss the factor which increases the chance of kickbacks.
1. When The End Nose Hits An Hard Object
The end nose refers to the end tip of the guide bar, this is the part of the bar which is responsible for most of the kickbacks. However, kickbacks can occur from other parts of the guide bar as well. But, the end nose accounts for nearly 90% of kickbacks.
Henceforth, I will advise you to avoid using this part of the chainsaw for cutting through wood. It will be way better if you use the middle part of the bar as it is considered to be the most stable part.
2. When The Wood Pinches The Chain
Well, most of the newbies think that cutting through a trunk or a tree in one go is a good option. But, what they do not know is that they are increasing the chance of the kickback. It is because cutting through large pieces of wood allows the wood to close around the saw and pinch it. As a result, the chainsaw bounces back uncontrollably injuring the user.
Therefore, I will advise you to plan before cutting through wood and do not cut through large pieces of wood at one go. Furthermore, it will be my recommendation to perform at least two cuts for large trunk and tress. This might eliminate the chances of kickbacks.
Factors Which Increases The Chances Of Kickbacks
The above two were the primary cause of kickbacks. Under, this head we will be talking about the diffrent factors which increase the chances of kickbacks. I am listing below the 7 most common factors which increase the chances of kickback.
- Dull Chain – A dull chain decreases the capability of the saw to chew through objects. As a result, the saw bounces back quite ofent because the saw is unable to cut through the object.
- When The Tension Of The Chain Is Not Properly Tighten – When the tenion of the chain bar is not thighten properly the performance of the chainsaw detoriates. Henceforth, the chainsaw gets pinched by the wood and bounces back quite ofent. In additon to being pinched by the wood, the guide bar also bounces back because the saw is unable to cut properly.
- The Chain Is Not Sharpened Correctly – Improper sharpened chain dampens the ability of the saw to cut through wood. As a reuslt, kickback chances increases.
- Using An Under Powered Chainsaw – When we are using an underpowered chainsaw for heavy work, the saw gets heated up quickly. Furthermore, it perfromance slower than the required speed. As a result, the wood gets enought time to pinch the saw back.
- Improperly Installed Parts – If someone has made this mistake he has increased the chance of kickback by considerable amount. It is because, wrongly installed parts entails the fact that the chainsaw will not work as desired. Therefore, there will be a good chance that kickback will occur.
- Using A Bent Or Cracked Chain – The ability of chainsaw to cut through wood is determined by the shine of its chain. If the chain is bent or cracked it means that the saw will not be able to cut smoothly. As a result, there will be hassels in cutting through wood and the chances of kickback will increase.
- Under Maintained Saw – All the above stated factors are combined in this point, which means an under maintained saw is full of flaws. As a result, an under maintained saw comes with the highest probability of causing kickback.
As we can see avoiding these factors is not a daunting task. But, sometimes we do such mistakes out of negligence or in a hurry. Hence, it is my recommendation to be very meticulous while sharpening the chain, installing the chainsaw parts, and tightening it. Furthermore, always make sure to check all the parts of the chainsaw before using it.
Chainsaw Kickbacks Safety Tips
Now we have a complete understanding of what kickbacks are and how atrocious their repercussions can be. Therefore, we can now head to the safety tips to minimize the chances of kickbacks.
I am listing below almost all the tips I know so far so that you can apply all of them next time. As a result, you will be able to eliminate the chances of kickback to a great extend.
1. Wear A Chainsaw Safety Kit
First and foremost, I will like to tell you that there is no perfect chainsaw or perfect safety tips. Therefore, there is always a minor chance of kickback. Hence, it will be better for us to wear a good safety kit that can mitigate the impact of the kickback.
I will recommend buying a full safety kit rather than a pair of gloves and a helmet. I am listing below the best safety equipment for chainsaw users.
|Oregon 563474 Chainsaw Safety Protective Helmet with Visor Combo Set, Yellow
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|Forester Chainsaw Safety Chaps - Full Wrap Zipper - Real Tree Camo (Long (40") Fits Most 6' to 6'4"...
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|Vgo Chainsaw 12-Layer Saw Protection on Both Hands Cow Leather Gloves (Size M, Orange, CA9760)
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|NoCry Safety Glasses with Clear Anti Fog Scratch Resistant Wrap-Around Lenses and No-Slip Grips, UV...
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2. Read Chainsaw Manufacturer’s Guide
One of the biggest mistakes we make is by assuming that all the chainsaws operate in the same manner. As a result, we often end up injuring ourselves and say “I didn’t know that this saw works like this”.
Therefore, it is my adjuration to all the saw users out there to please read the entire manual no matter how confident you are.
3. Do Not Operate The Chainsaw When You Are Tiered
Fatigue is the main cause of mistakes because we tend to omit a few necessary steps attributable to tiredness. Furthermore, our ability to handle the chainsaw and its vibration also reduces. Therefore, I will recommend taking a proper sleep/rest before operating the chainsaw.
4. Check The Chain Break Of The Chainsaw
The chain brake helps to stop the chain from rotating around the bar. Moreover, it also refrains the chain from kicking back with the help of the force of inertia. But, sometimes the chain brake does not work and sometimes we forget to activate it. As a result, we get vulnerable to higher chances of kickbacks.
Henceforth, we should check whether the chain brake is functioning properly and activate it before operating the chainsaw.
5. Never Cut With The Nose Of The Chainsaw
As I told you earlier that the end tip of the bar is responsible for nearly 90% of the kickbacks. Therefore, the best option will be to avoid using the chainsaw with the help of the nose tip. Hence, always try to cut with the help of the center of the bar for minimum kickbacks.
6. Do Not Operate The Chainsaw Above Shoulder Height
Our control over the tools reduces when we operate them above our shoulder level. Therefore, operating the chainsaw from above the shoulder level will increase the chance of kickbacks. Hence, always try to keep the chainsaw below the belle level for better control and minimum kickbacks.
7. Chose The Chainsaw And Chains Which Offer Lower Kickbacks
If you are not a professional and have just started using chainsaws. I will advise you to not go for a very powerful chainsaw because they offer more kickback. Furthermore, go for the chains which offer minimum kickback like a lo-pro or standard chain. Sadly, such chains and chainsaws dampen the speed of the work. Hence, this safety tip is only for new chainsaw users or for those who use chainsaws for household purposes.
8. Do Regular Maintainence And Check Up Of Your Chainsaw
We should regularly clean and sharpen our chainsaws. Furthermore, we should also do a regular check-up to see whether all the parts are functioning properly. In case, there is any defect or damage in any part then replace them immediately before operating the chainsaw. This will not only reduce the chance of kickbacks but will also increase the overall efficiency of the chainsaw.
After going through this guide I hope you got to know what exactly kickback is. Furthermore, you also got to know what are its prime causes. As a result, you will be able to eliminate kickback from its root by eliminating those causes like tightening the chain and properly installing all the parts.
In addition to being apprised of the causes, you also got narrated about all the prime safety tips to avoid kickbacks. Hence, this is a complete guide to avoiding kickbacks.
It is my request to re-visit and read this guide every time before operating a chainsaw until you have the confidence that you know all the safety tips.
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- Chainsaw Safety Features Wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chainsaw_safety_features
- Chainsaw Wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chainsaw
- Working Safely with Chainsaws https://www.osha.gov/sites/default/files/publications/chainsaws.pdf
- Chainsaw Safety https://ag-safety.extension.org/chainsaw-safety/