Two men cutting firewood with chainsaws, wearing protective pants, hard hats and ear protection.
Image by Sandy Repp

Wearing the proper safety equipment can prevent serious injury.

Chainsaw Safety

Each year, approximately 36,000 people are treated in hospital emergency departments for injuries from using chain saws (1). The potential risk of injury increases after hurricanes and other natural disasters, when chain saws are widely used to remove fallen or partially fallen trees and tree branches. 

About Chainsaws

Selecting and Maintaining a Chain Saw: By Stelzer, H. (2011). University of Missouri Extension.

General Safety 

Chainsaw Safety for Homeowners: A 2-page introduction to chainsaw safety from the New York State Department of Health.

Safe Timber Harvesting: A publication intended for loggers, however pages 1-44 cover personal protective equipment, maintaining and sharpened your chainsaw, general chainsaw safety, felling trees, and limbing and bucking. Produced by the University of New Hampshire Cooperative Extension, in cooperation with UNH Timber Harvesting Council, UNH Timberland Owners Association, and the UNH Thompson School of Applied Sciences.

Work Safely with a Chainsaw: The Indiana Woodlot Series includes this 6-page PDF that covers choosing a chain saw (including considerations of horsepower, bar length, chain type, and safety features); personal protective gear; other maintenance equipment you'll need; how to carry your chainsaw; sizing up the work site before cutting; safe operation (including the saw's 'kickback danger zone'); and tips for working in the forest. Published by the Indiana Dept. of Natural Resources with other partners.


Best Management Practices: On the Cornell Cooperative Extension Forestry website. Includes a series of articles (in PDF form) written by Tim Ard, a Game of Logging instructor. They describe chainsaw techniques that can improve your efficiency and safety.  

(1) "Preventing Chain Saw Injuries During Tree Removal After a Disaster", Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) at Referenced 22 January, 2014.

Last updated July 31, 2019