BACKGROUND: A sawhand was trimming logs on a log trailer on a logging job in the South.

PERSONAL CHARACTERISTICS: The sawhand was an experienced chain saw operator.

UNSAFE ACT OR CONDITION: The sawhand was trimming the side of the load with a pole saw. There were two logs on the top of the load with large knots he could not cut with the pole saw. The loader operator removed the two logs from the trailer and set them on the ground. The sawhand started a chain saw to trim the knots. He was wearing a hard hat, eye protection, and logging boots. He was not wearing chain saw chaps.

ACCIDENT: As the sawhand trimmed the large knots on one of the logs, the chain saw slipped and cut the man's leg.

INJURY: The sawhand suffered a cut to the front of his leg. The loader operator took him to the nearest hospital where he was treated and released.


  • Always wear chain saw chaps when operating a chain saw.
  • Ensure that the chain brake is functional.
  • Use proper saw techniques when limbing and trimming logs. When limbing large-diameter limbs on top of the tree trunk, it is better to limb with pushing chain (on top of the bar), to avoid contact with saw if the chain is pinched or the limb is severed more easily than expected.

Reviewed by:
Michael Wetzel
Southeastern Technical Division Forester

Please follow equipment manufacturers' recommendations for safe operation and maintenance procedures.