Safety Alert: Old, Worn Chaps Linked To Cut Suffered by Logger

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A foreman was injured while cutting a 4-inch western hemlock as he was working in the Pacific Northwest on a September day.

Personal Characteristics

The foreman was 40 years old, and he had 20 years of work experience. All loggers were wearing required personal protective equipment (PPE).

Unsafe Acts and Conditions

At a pre-commercial thinning operation, the foreman was cutting a 4-inch western hemlock. His saw’s chain got fouled in the tree’s branches. He throttled up on the saw while pulling it back to try to free it from the branches.

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The crew all had brand new chaps available. They all used the new chaps except the foreman, who chose to wear an older, worn pair.

Investigators found that the damaged condition of the foreman’s chaps may have contributed to his injury.


The foreman throttled up on the saw while pulling it back to try to release it from the branches. When the saw broke free from the branches, the tip of the saw came back and hi the foreman on his left leg.


A crew member administered first aid, then drove the foreman to a town where he received medical attention. The cut on his leg near the knee required 11 stitches to close. He was off work for several weeks.

Recommendations for Corrections

All chainsaw operators must wear and maintain leg protection and other required PPE in serviceable condition.

Chainsaws must be operated and adjusted in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions.

Saw pinching and subsequent chainsaw kickback must be prevented by using wedges, levers, guidelines, correct saw placement, or by undercutting.

(Source: Forest Resources Association)