Chainsaw Kickback Injury Requires Surgery to Hand

Safety Alert Type: 
Bucking and Limbing
Date of Incident / Close Call: 
Company Name: 
Oregon Occupational Health and Safety
Details of Incident / Close Call: 

On a fall day in Oregon State, a crew was working on a small diameter tree thinning project. Trees were cut down, cut into pieces, and put in piles. Piles were then trimmed to look squared and parallel.

The worker was operating a chainsaw and trimming one of the piles of branches and wood debris. As he was cutting one branch, the tip of his power chainsaw hit another branch, causing the saw to kickback. This forced the worker’s left hand off the front handle of the saw, which left his right hand still on the back handle and throttle.

The saw was then at full throttle coming back toward his hip, so he put his hand up to push the spinning saw chain back away. When his hand hit the spinning saw chain, it caused several lacerations to his hand.

Another employee was working with the injured worker, and summoned transportation to get him to the hospital. Surgery was required to repair the tendons.

Learnings and Suggestions: 

Investigation revealed the employer did not provide training and instruction that included the safe operation and maintenance of chainsaws, therefore exposing the employees to serious injuries.

In addition, no written instructions on the job site location were provided. This could have resulted in significant delay of emergency medical care due to confusion regarding the worksite’s location. The employer received multiple fines as a result.

Recommendations for Correction:

  • Employers must provide all employees with training that includes the safe use, operation, and maintenance of chainsaws and other equipment used
  • All supervisors and employees must be trained in first aid and cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) prior to their initial assignment.


For more information on this submitted alert: 

Oregon Occupational Health and Safety website

File attachments
Safety Alert-Chainsaw Kickback Injury-Oct 12-2020.pdf
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