OHS Code Explanation Guide

Published Date: July 01, 2009
Bookmark this page

Part 25 Tools, Equipment and Machinery

Section 376 Chain saws

A chain saw is a powered saw that uses an articulated chain with integral cutting teeth running around a bar of flat steel. Serious injuries can result from the unsafe use of chain saws including kickback, falling while carrying a saw or when sawing, strains and sprains from carrying and working with a heavy saw, hand-arm vibration syndrome, being cut by contact with the chain while it is in motion, being cut by the chain when it is not in motion, eye injuries from debris or fragments, hearing damage and many others.

Subsection 376(1)

There are many different brands, models and sizes of chain saws. A chain saw must be operated, adjusted, and maintained according to the manufacturer’s specifications. Kickback is the main cause of chain saw injuries. A kickback is the sudden and potentially violent rearward and/or upward movement of the chain saw. It is often caused be the chain striking wood or other objects, or can be caused by binding or pinching in the cut. All chain saws used at the work site must be designed or equipped with a mechanism that minimizes the risk of injury from kickback when the saw is in use.

Anti-kickback devices found on chain saws include

(a) safety nose or guard – prevents contact with the chain at the end of the chain (see Figure 25.4),
(b) safety chains – designed to reduce the tendency of catching or “hanging-up” in the wood, and
(c) chain brakes – stops the chain as the chain bar rises upwards and the hand pivots against the brake switch (see Figure 25.5).

Figure 25.4 Example of chain saw nose guard

Figure 25.5 Example of chain brake that helps prevent chain saw kickback

Subsection 376(2)

Workers must ensure that the chain saw’s motor is off and movement has completely stopped before attempting to adjust, clean, maintain or repair the chain or chain saw.

For more information
Chain saw information and online tutorial
Industry Prevention Resources for Forestry – Falling and Bucking