The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) reports that in one year alone 122,000 people required medical treatment for chain saw injuries. The most serious hazard associated with chain saw use is “kickback.”
Kickback most often occurs when the saw’s chain accidently touches another object such as a log, branch, or twig. Contact like this can throw the chain saw violently back toward the operator.
Low kickback replacement chains are now available for all saws, old and new. The CPSC strongly urges users to have their dealer determine whether their saw is equipped with one of these new chains. If not, they should install a low kickback replacement chain for protection.
When shopping for a chain saw, check for these other safety features:
- Hand Guard – bar in front of the forward handle to keep left hand from slipping onto the chain.
- Special Saw Chains and Guide Bars – designed to reduce the risk of injury due to chain saw kickback.
- Safety Tip – covers the chain as it passes around the nose of the guide bar. Reduces the chance of kickback by keeping the chain from contacting anything at the guide bar tip.
- Spark Arrester (gasoline only) – keeps sparks from being ejected by the exhaust.
- Chain Catcher – guards against injury in case the saw chain breaks.
- Trigger or Throttle Lockout – guards against inadvertent saw chain motion.
- Electrical Safety – if you choose an electric chain saw, select one which has been listed by a recognized safety rating authority.
- Bumper Spikes – most saws have large spikes on the front of the engine or motor housing that grip the wood and help hold the saw in place during cutting.
- Chain Brake – designed to stop the chain in a fraction of a second if a kickback occurs, thus reducing chances of serious injury. Can also serve as a hand guard.