Safety & Assurance Bulletin february 2023

Hot Lapse

A chainsaw operator suffered 7% burns to their legs and hand when both the chainsaw and their chainsaw trousers, caught fire…


They had just refuelled their chainsaw and started back to work when the chainsaw and trousers caught light.

Upon investigating the incident the chainsaw was found with the fuel cap missing and scorching was evident around the filler hole.

It is most likely the operator hadn’t refitted the fuel cap correctly, allowing fuel to be spilt out down their trousers. This type of action falls in the category of a ‘lapse’. The operator knew how to fit the cap, had done so successfully on countless occasions and had intended to on this occasion as well. It is possible the cap or seal was damaged allowing fuel to leak.


  • Refuel hand-held tools using proprietary fuel cans.
  • Ensure spillage controls are in place.
  • Before operating the equipment, clean any spills both on and around the machinery to prevent pollution and change any clothing that has had fuel spilt on it.
  • Undertake user inspections and routine maintenance of all machinery, including hand-held tools.
  • Check fuel and oil caps are correctly refitted and the seals are in good condition before you use the equipment.