Chainsaw Accident Statistics: Injuries, Deaths, Causes, PPE

| | ,

The CDC reports that there are “36,000 people are treated in hospital emergency departments for injuries from using chain saws.” Chainsaws, or the improper use of chainsaws, are behind injuries to thousands of individuals each year and, tragically, they are also linked to numerous fatalities.

The phrase ‘chainsaw accident’ might instinctively be something you’d shy away from researching – particularly when it comes to image searches. However, there is value in confronting the stark realities of such injuries to develop respect and caution when operating chainsaws.

In this discussion, our aim is to delve into the subject of chainsaw accidents and injuries, looking at the statistics and imparting insights that might grow awareness and preparedness, ensuring that our use of such powerful tools is characterized by informed caution and respect.

Chainsaw Accident Statistics

chainsaw accident statistics

1. Each year, approximately 36,000 people are treated in hospital emergency departments for injuries from using chain saws [source].

2. The potential risk of injury increases after hurricanes and other natural disasters, when chainsaws are widely used to remove fallen or partially fallen trees and tree branches [source].

3. The louder a sound is, and the longer you listen to it, the more it can damage your hearing. It can take as little as 2 minutes with a chainsaw to permanently damage your hearing if you use them without ear protection [source].

4. Approximately 40 percent of all chainsaw accidents occur to the legs and well over 35 percent occur to the left hand and wrist. The average chainsaw injury requires 110 stitches [source].

5. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration reports that more than 250 people die annually from chainsaw accidents in the U.S. Thousands more suffer serious injuries [source].

6. From 2006 to 2015 there were 655 fatal occupational injuries to logging workers. In 2015, there were approximately 51,000 employed loggers who were comprised of fallers, logging equipment operators, log graders, and scalers, and all other logging workers [source].

7. Medical costs for chainsaw injuries amount to at least US$350 million per year. On the assumption that four weeks of recovery are required, workers’ compensation costs can be estimated to be at least $125 million annually. [source].

Chainsaw Injuries

chainsaw accident statistics
Always wear chainsaw PPE

Chainsaw accidents happen for a huge range of reasons.

Go into any rural community and you can hear plenty of first and second-hand accounts of those who have been injured by either electric or gas chainsaws. Anecdotally, gas chainsaws are behind the greatest number of injuries, though there are also far more of them in use.

My family and I were at a local farmer’s house for lunch a number of weeks ago and started talking about saws. He had just been to visit a friend who almost lost his life in a chainsaw accident up a tree recently.

The man’s son had been able to get a tourniquet on the arm injury quickly and rushed him to meet an ambulance as soon as it happened. Thankfully they were not far from town at the time of the accident.

The farmer’s cousin told a story of her brother who had his face opened up by a chainsaw.

The poor man basically had the lower half of his face removed. However, as we were told, the surgeons did a good job and despite never being able to close one eye again you could hardly tell anything had happened. 

It’s more common for people to be injured by trees and tree limbs while using chainsaws, rather than the chainsaws themselves. Therefore, it is important to know the dangers and risks of making certain cuts and be aware of where trees and limbs are going to fall.

Whether felling trees, pruning branches, or bucking firewood, constant vigilance is important when using a chainsaw.

Causes Of Chainsaw Accidents


Most chainsaw injuries occur to the hands, lower arms, and lower legs.

The most common reasons for chainsaw injury and death, however, are inattentiveness, inexperience, and being ill-prepared.

Chainsaw “kickback” is a big cause of accidents.

Kickback is the sharp, sudden, and unexpected movement of the chainsaw, often upwards towards the face. It happens when the tip of the saw (the kickback zone) hits something it shouldn’t, is pinched, or is used incorrectly.

Visit our article on the causes and prevention of chainsaw kickback to gain a fuller understanding. Chainsaw safety gear prevents a lot of injuries, and a lack of appropriate gear is the cause of many.

You don’t have to be wrapped up like a knight in armor to use a chainsaw, but there are some essential pieces that can save your life in the case of an accident.

PPE And Safety Gear

chainsaw safety guide

Basic safety gear that should be worn when using a chainsaw:

Additional PPE for added protection:

  • Kevlar arm sleeves
  • Body vests
  • Added ankle protection
  • BaSt-Ing VinZent (back protection)

Especially if you are working with a chainsaw alone, it’s best to use every type of chainsaw protection possible. Collecting firewood or getting a tree out of the way isn’t worth your life.

Recent Chainsaw Injuries

death by electrocution
Source: Death or injury by electrocution is not uncommon

In the US alone there are over 30,000 injuries relating to chainsaws each year.

These are some examples of recent chainsaw injuries and accidents that have made the news.

  1. 9news reports that a man suffered significant blood loss after cutting his neck and shoulder with a chainsaw in Sydney, Australia.
  2. The Blue Mountains Gazette reports that a man was flown to hospital after a forearm injury from a chainsaw.
  3. CNN reports on a man who was rescued by a postie after accidentally cutting himself with a chainsaw in Norwalk, California.
  4. CBC reports on a chainsaw kickback leg injury caused by one man to another who was standing nearby in Grand Falls-Windsor.
  5. The Washington Post reports on an increase in chainsaw injuries as opposed to sports injuries since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Chainsaw injuries can cause terrible damage and leave many disfigured or missing limbs. Make sure you use the right chainsaw safety equipment to protect yourself and those around you.

Recent Chainsaw Deaths

died using a chainsaw
Source: Two Tasmanian coroners have called for compulsory training

Chainsaw deaths are reasonably rare, but they happen.

Here are some examples of chainsaw deaths in 2021 that I share in the hope it will make us more cautious and prepared when using our chainsaws.

If your loved one is mentioned here and you would like them removed, please contact us, and we will do so immediately.

  1. Kent Online reports that Matthew Ovenden, 35, died from loss of blood while working with his chainsaw alone in Canterbury, UK.
  2. Online Athens reports that Anthony Mazerika, 78, died after an injury to the throat from a chainsaw kickback incident in Madison County, Iowa.
  3. Public Opinion Online reports that Harold Stouffer, 74, died while using a chainsaw after a tree struck him in the head in Lurgan Township, Pennsylvania.
  4. News24 reports that Yunus Pillay, 17, died after suffering an injury to the chest from a chainsaw in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa.
  5. Newstime reports that Stephen Caciopoli, 33, died after receiving a neck injury from a chainsaw while attempting to cut up a tree in Newtown, Connecticut.
  6. 9news reports Lawrence William Phillips, 62, was killed by electrocution while using a chainsaw to cut down two trees.

It’s essential you wear the correct safety gear and it’s always recommended to work with a partner. There is a much greater chance of survival if you are not alone. Also, most towns will have a chainsaw shop that runs chainsaw classes. Everyone should do one when starting out.

Chainsaw Injury Statistics

chainsaw injury statistics

In the diagram above, you can see which parts of the body are most likely to be injured as a result of a chainsaw accident. While it’s older data, there’s little doubt the ratio would be fairly similar today.

The Pfanner Protos Arborist helmet is one of the best on the market for preventing head injuries.

We hope this has helped remind you of the dangers of chainsaws – always remember to stay alert when cutting and be prepared for the unexpected. If you haven’t yet done so, make sure you take chainsaw safety training so that you’re aware of the dangers and know how to assess hazards.


Best Electric Fireplace: Wall Hung, Recessed, Inset, Freestanding, Smart, Infrared

Glossary of Tree Care, Arborial, Forestry, Logging, And Related Professions


4 thoughts on “Chainsaw Accident Statistics: Injuries, Deaths, Causes, PPE”

  1. I hate to think about chainsaw accidents and injuries but like you say it’s better to be aware of what can go wrong than to be oblivious.

  2. Our family rule is that my husband does not operate the chain saw when no one is home. There is always someone else home keeping tabs on him. He also never operates it without full PPE.


Leave a Comment