Research finds abrasive chainsaws decrease kickback by 50% when cutting pipe in trench

For operators cutting pipe in the trench, circular cutoff saws have long been the preferred choice of power tool. While they have many safe applications, their inherent design exposes the operator to greater kickback-related hazards, like head and neck injuries, lacerations or fatality, when cutting pipe in the trench.  

Commissioned by ICS Diamond Tools, a division of Blount International, and recently published in the International Journal of Occupational Safety and Ergonomics, a world-leading research university reports abrasive chainsaws generate nearly 50-percent less kickback energy than circular cutoff saws – making them a safer choice in the trench. 

“Kickback events happen so fast, and not even the most experienced operator is able to react. But there’s been a lack of data surrounding the kickback risks of different tools, and this independent research study helped solve that,” said Todd Gerlach, director of product group, Concrete Cutting and Finishing division at ICS.    

The independent research study focused on pinch-derived kickback in an effort to better predict kickback risk to saw operators. Researchers developed a mathematical model and designed, built and tested a kickback machine to evaluate the phenomenon, focusing on differences between circular cutoff saws and abrasive chainsaws. 

Using an abrasive chainsaw also allows operators more control of the tool without having to reposition themselves around the pipe, or reposition the blade guard for the final cut, as they do with circular cutoff saws – which is when the danger of kickback increases significantly.  

Beyond reduced risk of serious injury, using an abrasive chainsaw to cut pipe in the trench also improves project efficiency by reducing excavation requirements.  

To view a white paper detailing the full independent research study, visit the ICS Diamond Tools website.

Headquartered in Portland, Ore., and with distribution in 70 countries, ICS Diamond Tools designs and manufactures concrete chain saws and diamond chain, which have revolutionized concrete cutting in the construction industry. 


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