Chainsaws for Construction

Chainsaws used for construction use must be equipped with all guards and safety devices in good working condition, including throttle interlock and chain brake. Prior to using an electric or gasoline-powered chainsaw, personnel must be qualified to operate the saw and follow the manufacturer’s recommended safe operating procedures


  • Permit only trained and experienced workers to operate a chainsaw.
  • Saw inspection, inspect and correct any defects prior to use.
  • Never walk around with a saw that is running. Switch off the power source.
  • When repositioning, never hold your finger on the trigger.
  • Do not attempt to cut anything other than wood with a chainsaw.  Avoid contact with nails, piping, or other objects.

What to Wear When Operating a Chainsaw

  •  Safety glasses
  •  Face shield
  •  Hearing protection
  •  Chaps – sewn in Kevlar protective pads provide protection to the legs
  •  Heavy duty work boots
  •  Head protection when exposed to overhead hazards

Chainsaw Operation

  • Hold the saw securely with both hands, with fingers and thumbs around the handles. This helps prevent the hands from being dislodged and provides control in the event of a kickback.
  • Do not operate the saw when you are tired.
  • Know where the bar tip is at all times.
  • Do not allow the cut to bind on the saw chain.
  • Make sure the chain brake is functioning.

Kick-back is the most common and danger with chain saws.  This occurs when contact is made in the “kickback” zone.  Contact in this zone makes the chain bunch up and try to climb out of the cutting track. This often happens when the saw tip makes contact with something beyond the cutting area, such as a tree branch, log or plank

Presenter tips

  • Pre-read the Toolbox Talk. Your comfort level and confidence will be higher if you know your topic.
  • Discuss related tasks, work areas or events that make the Toolbox Talk relevant to your job site.
  • Involve the workers by asking questions and input that drives discussion.

Questions for Discussion

  • Where is the kick-back zone?
  • How do you approach a worker using a chain saw?