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What is Kickback and How Can I Prevent It?

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Question: What is Kickback and How Can I Prevent It?
Get the answers to frequently asked questions about chainsaws. Have a question that isn't answered here? Ask the Forestry Forum.
Answer: One in every 12 timbering accidents is caused by chainsaw kickback. If a professional tree feller is at risk, it can definitely happen to a less experienced chainsaw user.

According to OSHA, kickback is "a strong thrust of the saw back toward the faller generally resulting from improper use of the nose of the bar or the pinching of the bar in a cut. Kickback causes loss of control of the saw and this in turn results in numerous saw cuts each year. Kick-back also refers to a tree jumping back over the stump toward the faller. This kind of kick-back generally results from a tree being felled into standing timber and/or lack of stump-shot."

There are ways to reduce the likelihood of kickback. Use an anti-kickback chain and do not use the tip of the guide bar for cutting. Stand alongside and not directly behind your cutting work. Be aware of what is going on around you all the time. Please review Carl Smith's Chainsaw Safety Interview.

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