top of page

Chainsaw Safety Training

Chainsaw Safety Training (OSHA 1910.266)

OSHA Requirements for chainsaw safety are part of the Logging Operations Standard. Some highlights pertaining to chainsaw operation and employer responsibilities are listed, however, please see link below for the complete standard.

General Requirements

The employer shall assure that each hand and portable powered tool, including any tool provided by an employee, is maintained in serviceable condition.

The employer shall assure that each tool, including any tool provided by an employee, is inspected before initial use during each workshift.

At a minimum, the inspection shall include the following:

  • Handles and guards, to assure that they are sound, tight-fitting, properly shaped, free of splinters and sharp edges, and in place;

  • Controls, to assure proper function;

  • Chain-saw chains, to assure proper adjustment;

  • Chain-saw mufflers, to assure that they are operational and in place;

  • Chain brakes and nose shielding devices, to assure that they are in place and function properly;

  • Heads of shock, impact-driven and driving tools, to assure that there is no mushrooming;

  • Cutting edges, to assure that they are sharp and properly shaped; and

  • All other safety devices, to assure that they are in place and function properly.

  • The employer shall assure that each tool is used only for purposes for which it has been designed.

  • When the head of any shock, impact-driven or driving tool begins to chip, it shall be repaired or removed from service.

  • The cutting edge of each tool shall be sharpened in accordance with manufacturer’s specifications whenever it becomes dull during the workshift.

  • Each tool shall be stored in the provided location when not being used at a work site

  • Racks, boxes, holsters or other means shall be provided, arranged and used for the transportation of tools so that a hazard is not created for any vehicle operator or passenger.

First Aid Kits

  • The employer shall provide first-aid kits at each work site where trees are being cut (e.g., felling, buckling, limbing), at each active landing, and on each employee transport vehicle. The number of first-aid kits and the content of each kit shall reflect the degree of isolation, the number of employees, and the hazards reasonably
    anticipated at the work site.

  • At a minimum, each first-aid kit shall contain the items listed in Appendix A at all times.

  • The employer also may have the number and content of first-aid kits reviewed and approved annually by a health care provider.

  • The employer shall maintain the contents of each first-aid kit in a serviceable condition.

Fire Extinguishers

  • The employer shall provide and maintain portable fire extinguishers on each machine and vehicle in accordance with the requirements of subpart L of Part 1910.


  • Each chain saw placed into initial service after the effective date of this section shall be equipped with a chain brake and shall otherwise meet the requirements of the  ANSI B175.1-1991 “Safety Requirements for Gasoline-Powered Chain Saws”, which is incorporated by reference as specified in Sec. 1910.6.

  • Each chain saw placed into service before the effective date of this section shall be equipped with a protective device that minimizes chain-saw kickback. No chain-saw kickback device shall be removed or otherwise disabled

  • Each gasoline-powered chain saw shall be equipped with a continuous pressure throttle control system which will stop the chain when pressure on the throttle is released

  • The chain saw shall be operated and adjusted in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions

  • The chain saw shall be fueled at least 10 feet (3 m) from any open flame or other source of ignition.

  • The chain saw shall be started at least 10 feet (3 m) from the fueling area.

  • The chain saw shall be started on the ground or where otherwise firmly supported. Drop starting a chain saw is prohibited.

  • The chain saw shall be started with the chain brake engaged.

  • The chain saw shall be held with the thumbs and fingers of both hands encircling the handles during operation unless the employer demonstrates that a greater hazard is posed by keeping both hands on the chain saw in that particular situation.

  • The chain-saw operator shall be certain of footing before starting to cut.

  • The chain saw shall not be used in a position or at a distance that could cause the operator to become off-balance, to have insecure footing, or to relinquish a firm grip on the saw.

  • Prior to felling any tree, the chain-saw operator shall clear away brush or other potential obstacles which might interfere with cutting the tree or using the retreat path.

  • The chain saw shall not be used to cut directly overhead.

  • The chain saw shall be carried in a manner that will prevent operator contact with the cutting chain and muffler.

  • The chain saw shall be shut off or the throttle released before the feller starts his retreat.

  • The chain saw shall be shut down or the chain brake shall be engaged whenever a saw is carried further than 50 feet (15.2 m).

  • The chain saw shall be shut down or the chain brake shall be engaged when a saw is carried less than 50 feet if conditions such as, but not limited to, the terrain, underbrush and slippery surfaces, may create a hazard for an employee.

Personal Protective Equipment Requirements

Proper personal protective equipment (PPE) can prevent or lessen the severity of injuries to workers using chain saws. Employers must ensure that PPE is in good working condition prior to starting work. Employers must provide and ensure workers properly use PPE, including:

  • Head protection, such as a hard hat

  • Hearing protection sufficient to reduce noise exposure to 90 decibels or less

  • Eye/Face Protection such as safety glasses.

  • Appropriate protective footwear per OSHA standards.

  • Leg protection such as work pants or chaps.

  • Work gloves.

  • Fall protection as necessary.

  • PPE should be used in conjunction with engineering and administrative controls whenever possible.


The employer shall provide training for each employee, including supervisors, at no cost to the employee.

Frequency: Training shall be provided as follows:

  • As soon as possible but not later than the effective date of this section for initial training for each current and
    new employee;

  • Prior to initial assignment for each new employee;

  • Whenever the employee is assigned new work tasks, tools, equipment, machines or vehicles; and

  • Whenever an employee demonstrates unsafe job performance.

Content: At a minimum, training shall consist of the following elements:

  • Safe performance of assigned work tasks;

  • Safe use, operation and maintenance of tools, machines and vehicles the employee uses or operates, including
    emphasis on understanding and following the manufacturer’s operating and maintenance instructions, warnings and precautions;

  • Recognition of safety and health hazards associated with the employee’s specific work tasks, including the use of measures and work practices to prevent or control those hazards;

  • Procedures, practices and requirements of the employer’s work site; and

  • The requirements of this standard.

First Aid Training

  • The employer shall assure that each employee, including supervisors, receives or has received first-aid and CPR training meeting at least the requirements specified in Appendix B.

  • The employer shall assure that each employee’s first-aid and CPR training and/or certificate of training remain current.

  • All training shall be conducted by a designated person.

Certification of Training

  • The employer shall verify compliance with paragraph (i) of this section by preparing a written certification record. The written certification record shall contain the name or other identity of the employee trained, the date(s) of the training, and the signature of the person who conducted the training or the signature of the employer. If the employer relies on training conducted prior to the employee’s hiring or completed prior to the effective date of this section, the certification record shall indicate the date the employer determined the prior training was adequate.

  • The most recent training certification shall be maintained.

Appendices A and B of this section are mandatory. The information contained in Appendix C of this section is informational and is not intended to create any additional obligations not otherwise imposed or to detract from existing regulations.

Training Videos

Please view all videos using the "PREVIEW' version first.


If you decide a video is what you are looking for in training a group of your employees, you can then download the high resolution video version. This is important because the WV LTAP is charged per high resolution view of both the “English” and “Spanish” videos.


We are happy to offer these videos at no-cost to the local and state public works and roadway agencies located within West Virginia. Using the "Preview" version when evaluating videos allows us to keep our costs down and allows you to watch the complete video, just at a lower quality. The "Preview" version will still work great on a computer screen and helps us keep costs down and continue this program.

bottom of page