Using A Chainsaw In A Public Place [What You Need To Know]

Do I need a Licence to use a chainsaw in public?

It depends. Many factors come to play here, such as:

Where do you live? Are you using a chainsaw for business or personal use? How old are you? 

Your state might have laws in place that require you to have a license for your chainsaw, depending on your intended use. 

If you only use your chainsaw for personal use around your property, then you most likely don’t need a license. If you are doing contract work for a business, it might require you to be a licensed operator for health and safety reasons.

It is best to get hold of your local state office or municipality and confirm for good measure. 

Owning a business that uses chainsaws for example will require your operators to be properly trained in using chainsaws along with the correct safety measure.

Let’s go over a few countries:

United States

In the US, there is no set law that requires you to have a license for owning a chainsaw. However, the US Forest Service does encourage enthusiasts and woodsmen to attend training to become qualified operators.


Canadian regulations are somewhat similar, but the best way to be sure is to contact local authorities. Canada does require operators who are using chainsaws for commercial purposes to be qualified though.

This is to educate operators about safe operating procedures.

United Kingdom

Non-professionals do not need licenses to operate chainsaws, but for health and safety reasons a professional operator needs to be properly trained and certified to use a chainsaw.

These regulations are put in place to ensure safe working environments.

These regulations are somewhat similar throughout Ireland and Australia as well.

Using a chainsaw in hot weather?
Gas boiling in chainsaw?
Chainsaw brake stuck

How old do you have to be to use a chainsaw?

According to one source:

“The U.S. Department of Labor (29 CFR 570 Subpart E-1) has determined that certain occupations are particularly hazardous for youths under age 16. The hazardous occupations order forbids persons under the age of 16 to operate, adjust, or clean a chainsaw or any other power-driven saw.”

These laws might differ from one country to the next. As mentioned above, the best thing to do is to contact the local state office or municipality to confirm the lawful age required to operate a chainsaw.

How old do you have to be to use a chainsaw?

For private use, you should not let your children, or young teenagers use a chainsaw without supervision. Chainsaws are not toys, and should only be operated by trained operators.

There’s no specific age you have to be to operate a chainsaw. I believe common sense dictates you need to be an adult to use a chainsaw.

Do I have to wear PPE?

Yes. You have to wear PPE no matter where you are using your chainsaw. 

If you are a business owner that makes use of chainsaws, here is what the OSHA says about PPE:

“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 before 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. “

Even if you only use your chainsaw for personal use, it is best to wear PPE. In case of an accident, you will be happy you were wearing safety clothing.

For example, if you accidentally experience a kickback, your operator’s helmet will prevent or minimize the risk of fatal injury. 

Wearing chaps and safety boots will protect your legs and feet from a misplaced cut. Ask yourself this question: If my chainsaw accidentally slips out of my hand, would I want my legs and feet to be protected?

Proper chainsaw gloves are a good choice if you value your fingers. Always remember that with a chainsaw, one slip is all it takes for things to go wrong.

What should I do if I see someone using a chainsaw in public without PPE?

Technically there is nothing you can do as a citizen. However, if the worksite is out in public and poses a direct threat to other people, then it would be best to phone your local authorities.

If you are a business that has hired a contractor that uses chainsaws, it is your responsibility to ensure that safe operating procedures are followed.

If you are that way inclined, you could approach the operator and warn him of the dangers. 

Do you have any tips for using a chainsaw in public?

Here are some logical and professional suggestions for you:

When using your chainsaw in public, make sure you have all the correct safety clothing. You would not want people to think you are unsafe.

Especially if you earn a living with your chainsaw, being safe will make your business look more professional.

Be sure to have your work area marked with danger tape or traffic cones. Other people need to be able to see that there is work in progress, the last thing you want is for a passer-by to get injured.

If you are felling a tree in a public space or even trimming branches, make sure to have an assistant or spotter with you. Having a spotter will help make sure the worksite is clear of people.

Try and run your chainsaw only as long as you need to. Chainsaws are loud and may distract businesses or people around you. 

This is also going to help minimize the fumes produced from a gas chainsaw.

Always remember to be safe, not only you as the operator but those around you should be aware of any danger as well.