What To Wear When Using A Chainsaw?

Written By James
Updated March 17, 2022 by James

What To Wear When Using A Chainsaw?

Our Guide To PPE When Using a Chainsaw

Chainsaws are one of the most dangerous power tools out there and need a high class of protection for use, any safety issues can happen such as chainsaw kickback or flying debris during use.

When using a chainsaw you need to wear PPE such as safety goggles, steel toe-capped toe boots, ear defenders and even chainsaw trousers. 

We've composed an information guide below which will take you through the safety features of chainsaws, what to wear when using one, safety checks to take before using a chainsaw and some general safety tips.

Are Chainsaws Safe To Use? 

Before we get into what to wear when using a chainsaw we first need to discuss the safety of chainsaws in general. 

Chainsaws are safe to use, but only when used in the right way, these power tools are high speed and have a large blade, making them a high safety risk around 40,000 people are injured with chainsaws each year. 

The tools themself however are safe to use thanks to their safety features which we will list below. 

  • Throttle trigger and lock-off - For the chainsaw to spin you must have both the throttle trigger and lock-off engaged.
  • On and off button - For petrol chainsaw models you might find that they have an on and off button which stops the power tool from accidental start-up, some even have a primer or a starter rope.
  • Special chain saw chain catcher - This safety feature helps to block the chain from the saw in case it falls off the guide and hurts you, it's typically located on the base of the machine.
  • Chain brake - The chain brake is designed as a front handguard, if the blade is thrown towards the user during kickback the left-hand touches the lever to activate the brake.
  • Anti-kickback - This feature is designed to minimise the chances of chains getting stuck inside the wood, causing a kickback.
  • Anti-vibration - Anti-vibration features are only found on some chainsaws, they make the tool more comfortable to use due to its high power vibrations.

Personal Protective Equipment To Wear When Using a Chainsaw 

Now we've discussed how safe chainsaws are to use and the features they include to protect you we can move on to how to protect yourself when using one of these tools. 


Having safety helmet protection is important when using a chainsaw, it protects your head against impact in case of a kickback, they typically look like the orange head helmets you see on construction workers. 

Some further come with ear defenders and visors for your eyes, they have a cheap price of £10 upwards but will not be able to stop the chainsaw if it is in motion.

Ear Defenders 

Both petrol and electric chainsaws can be very noisy during use so wearing ear defenders is highly important. Defenders are sold at a cheap price, but most safety helmets will include them anyway.


In case the chainsaw makes contact with your trousers, wearing safety trousers instead of normal trousers will give you more of an advantage. 

Safety trousers are made out of special fabrics which help to slow down the blade in case it manages to make contact with the material, this gives the user more of a chance to avoid injury. 


Chainsaw gloves are specially designed to protect your hands the same way safety trousers are. 

They can cost anything between £10-£30 with the left-handed being more padded than the right since it's closer to the blade. 

Safety Boots 

This is one of the more expensive PPE equipment but is worth it for extra peace of mind. These boots have a steel toe cap plus extra grip to avoid you from slipping while using the tool. 

Essential Safety Checks Before Starting a Chainsaw

To operate a chainsaw safely you need to make sure you are not only wearing PPE but are also following essential safety checks for better chainsaw protection. 

We've listed the most important checks to carry out on your tool below.

Chainsaw Tensioning Device 

Checking the tension of your chainsaw is one of the most underlooked safety checks, this tension often becomes looser and looser every time during use. 

If too loose, the chain could potentially come off during very dangerous use, to tighten the tension simply be tightened by turning the wheel on your tool or the screw can be turned with a driver. 

Guide Bar

Guide bars determine the size of the wood that your saw can take, the longer this bar the thicker the amount of stock it can take, do not try to use bigger pieces of wood with smaller guide bars since this can cause kickbacks. 

The Chain 

To reduce the risk of injury, always check when your chain needs replacing, when choosing your replacement always ensure you are choosing the right one for your tool with the right pitch and gauge. 

Also ensure you are following the manual properly when installing the replacement, installing the chain the wrong way could cause injury as well as damage the chainsaw.

Cutting Teeth

The chainsaw teeth should be sharpened and inspected regularly, a blunt chainsaw is very dangerous and gives a risk of injury since you will have to push harder, increasing the chances of a chainsaw kickback.

Our Best Tips For Using a Chainsaw Safely 

Once you have all your safety gear on and ready to use your chainsaw, it's worth going over some safety tips for protection for workers.

  • Always use two hands - Two hands are best for stability, they keep you balanced and allow you to take a boxer position when cutting which increase your strength.
  • Beware of falling trees - Always plan for falling trees and other debris when cutting, sometimes trees can fall in ways you do not expect, this is where having another person on the lookout can be useful.
  • Work as two people - If one person is cutting it's a good idea to have a second person moving the debris away, this stops the area from getting messy or tripping over any materials.
  • Be aware of the kickback zone - Never dig the bar of your chainsaw into the kickback zone, this is in place for protection against cutting, also consider using a reduced kickback special chainsaw for safety.
  • Plan a cut - Experienced chainsaw operators always plan their cuts before making one, it's important to know exactly where your cut will finish rather than where it will start for safety
  • Understand the pull - When operating your chainsaw you will feel, cutting at the bottom of the bar will pull you towards the log while if you cut on top then it will push you away.

Frequently Asked Questions About PPE & Chainsaws

Are chainsaw petrol models more dangerous than electric models? 

No, both petrol chainsaws and electric models are as dangerous as each other, the only difference with petrol models is that you can spill fuel when filling the tank.

Where should I fill the petrol tank in a chainsaw? 

The petrol tank of your chainsaw should be filled up a few steps away from where you will be using it in case of sparks.

What is a chainsaw kickback? 

This is used to describe when the guard bar moves up unexpectedly, the end of the nose will get stuck in material and the chain can become pinched. 

Do I need an eye protection guard when using a chainsaw?

Yes, most helmets will include a visor, you should ideally have something protecting your eyes in case of flying debris.

Final Words 

Overall, to have superior protection when using a chainsaw you should be wearing safety helmets, protective trousers, ear guards, safety gloves and safety boots. Always practice getting to know how to hold the chainsaw properly and familiarise yourself with the tool's safety features before use.

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My father, and his father before him, and his father; for the past 3 generations, my family have always been into gardening. The green fingers is a gift passed down to me and I thoroughly enjoy it! I also have worked in the manufacturing department for Bosch and DeWalt so I like to think I know a thing or two about tools and such!
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