Chain saw injury prevention

James Hubbard, M.D., M.P.H.

I always dread seeing chainsaw injuries.  It is never a clean cut.  Even if the blade barely nicks the skin, it causes a nasty, dirty, macerated laceration leaving an ugly scar.  Of course the less you use the saws the more likely you are to get cut when you do, but experience is not immunity.  I have seen bad cuts in old pros.  Most of the time the the saw kicks back so fast and with such force you can’t stop it, and it cuts really well through flesh.

The CDC has good tips for preventing injuries.  Mostly take your time and stay focused on what you are doing.  Remove excess debris and wear goggles.  Keep your body out of the way of a kickback as best you can.  Have a partner within hollering distance and know where the limb will fall.  If you are helping, stay clear of danger.  You may think “duh”, but once I saw a patient

who had cut the side of his neck.  It was jagged and ugly but had not hit any major veins or arteries, a close call averted.  He had been holding the limb just below where his partner was cutting.  The partner dropped the saw on my patient’s neck.  Fortunately it was not running or it could have cut his head off.

Personally I am afraid of using a chainsaw.  A physician colleague was hospitalized and out of work for several weeks after his chainsaw kicked back and cut a deep gash in his forehead.

Have any of you had close calls?

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6 Responses to “Chain saw injury prevention”

  1. Sagan Says:

    Eek! I think I’m afraid to use one of those things too. Never been near one. I think I might just keep it that way.

    Sagans last blog post..The Run-A-Race-This-Summer Challenge

  2. James Hubbard, M.D., M.P.H. Says:


    I am not much of handy man (my wife gets worry if she sees me with a hammer). I think I’ll hire any work I can’t handle with a manual saw. It will save medical expenses.

    James Hubbard, M.D., M.P.H.s last blog post..How to Stop Snoring: 5 proven tips from a doctor

  3. Dr. J Says:

    Thanks Dr. Hubbard! As a guy, I’m not big on reading instructions LOL! However, before I used a chain saw for the first time before cleaning up the yard after one of our never popular hurricanes decided to do an abstract landscape job here, I read every single word about how to use a chain saw, twice!!

    Yeah, they scare me! No damage so far. I do everything you suggested.

    Dr. Js last blog post..A new party guest: Healthy dippers

  4. James Hubbard, M.D., M.P.H. Says:

    I’m glad no damage. I would think they are a must after a hurricane.

    James Hubbard, M.D., M.P.H.s last blog post..How to Stop Snoring: 5 proven tips from a doctor

  5. Frank Says:

    My backyard has a lot of trees with branches which need to be trimmed down every couple of months. But I’m no handyman so I get a professional to get the job done. I’d rather pay to get these things done than to lose one of my limbs!

  6. Ali Says:

    Hi James Hubbard,
    The chainsaw idea seems lovely. Thanks for the credit. Will definitely try to go someday.

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