A graphic illustration of the dangers of chainsaws

Take a look at the X-ray image below.

Yes, that shows a chainsaw embedded in a man’s body, with the chain dragged through his flesh.  Amazingly, he survived!  You can read all about it here.

Chainsaws are extremely useful tools – indispensable for many tasks – but they’re also deadly dangerous, particularly to those who don’t know what they’re doing with them.  If you have one but haven’t had instruction from someone who knows and understands the dangers, may I strongly recommend that you seek such training as soon as possible?  I’ve seen a number of people very badly hurt (some to such an extent that they were permanently crippled) when they tried to use chainsaws (even small ones) to clear away debris after a hurricane.  The injury shown above was caused to a professional, who did understand the dangers, but nevertheless had his saw ‘kick back‘ at him.  It can happen to anyone using these tools.

Please, folks, be careful out there.  I seriously recommend printing out a copy of that X-ray image, laminating it, and securing it to your chainsaw handle.  It’ll be a reminder to you every time you pick it up of what might happen if you’re not careful.


EDITED TO ADD:  I found the US Forest Service training materials for chain- and crosscut saw operation online.  They include manuals for students and instructors and PowerPoint presentations on how to safely use these tools.  If you can’t get to one of the many chainsaw safety courses offered nationwide, those documents are a good place to learn the basics of chainsaw safety.  There are also many videos on YouTube that will help.


  1. I've searched locally for professional training in use of a chainsaw, and the best response I've gotten is "just have somebody show you how to use it". People seem more concerned that I get the oil right than that I don't chop off a leg.
    I've read that the Methodist storm relief missions have very good training, but haven't any idea how I'd even get plugged in to that.

  2. and thank god my friend was wearing the safety pants when the chain came off the blade so many years age. deep cut in the pants instead of the femoral artery.

  3. Chainsaw injuries to the leg in rural areas are like bagel-cutting injuries in urban ones: So common that nobody hardly blinks at them. Of course,, chain saws are mre likely to kill the user.

    One of my relatives ran a woodlot. He insisted that all users of chainsaws wear kevlar trousers. Even fired a couple of guys for not complying. The most vocal naysayer changed his mind when he took a blade to the leg and wasn't hurt.

  4. Our intrepid tree-trimmer needs to spend a couple weeks doing nothing more strenuous than sitting on the toilet.

    His guardian angel needs some serious time off after this one!

  5. @DOuglas2 and others:

    Wildland firefighting agencies, such as the U.S. Forest Service, do have sawyer classes that cover safe chainsaw operation.

    You might be able to track down the books, DVD, etc. without actually being a wildland firefighter.

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