Chain shot incident injures operator

Safety Alert Type: 
Heavy Equipment
near Fort St. James, BC
Date of Incident / Close Call: 
Company Name: 
KDL Group (K & D Logging)
Details of Incident / Close Call: 

Injuries and fatalities have been occurring in the forest industry due to processor ‘Chain shot’. Chain shot is when a processor chain breaks and the broken link is whipped or shot (sometimes in excess of 8,000 feet per second) from the processor head. This link travels at such a high rate of speed that it can severely injure or kill a worker if struck.

Recently, K&D Logging experienced a ‘chain shot’ which pierced through a 12mm Lexan window (see photos in attached pdf) and lodged in an operator’s leg, just below the knee. The operator required surgery to remove the 2 links from his leg.

Learnings and Suggestions: 


  • Ground crews should never work within a 300ft radius of an operating processor. If an individual is checking log quality (other than the operator), shut the processor off and join the individual with the quality check. Do not run the machine while anyone is within the 300ft limit.
  • Never operate the main saw in front of the cab. Always tilt the head so the bar is angled away from the cab. Positioning the head a few degrees can mean all of the difference in avoiding a direct chain shot.
  • Discuss with your supervisor if you are processing safely to avoid chain shot. Have someone else watch the way you process to ensure that you are being safe and that you are positioned correctly.

Currently, K&D Logging has a chain re-sharpening program. The current program disposes of chains when: there is a broken link, damage to 2 or more teeth, excessive wear or more than 3 sharpenings. There will be more information on this topic as we learn from our chain supplier (Stihl) and from others who manage a chain sharpening program.

WorkSafeBC is working with manufacturers and dealers to develop engineered controls (barriers or guarding) to limit the risk of chain shot. Until these controls are finalized, operators need to ensure proper head positioning while cutting and avoid using chains with excessive wear.

For more information on this submitted alert: 





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