How to Use A Log Splitter Safely[Log Splitter Injuries & Safety Tips]

By Power Tools

September 20, 2019

Safety First!! Often split wood with log splitter? Find log splitter safety tips and how to use a log splitter safely in this article. Do not get injured while splitting a log and ruin the fun!

Any machine that uses hydraulic force to operate should be used with caution. So, let’s get to know how to use a log splitter with proper safety.

Log Splitter Safety Tips

  • Never use a log splitter in the nighttime. Daylight is the proper time to split logs.
    how to use a log splitter safely and log splitter safety tips
    Image of a Man Showing how to use a log splitter safely
  • Always use proper safety goggles, sturdy shoes or boots and helmet if possible. Wood pieces may fly when splitting.
  • It is best to operate the log splitter by only one operator. Even if there are two operators, make sure other person collecting the wood stands clear of the blade front side.
  • Always use hand gloves. For your beloved hands, please!
  • Make sure there is no leakage in the hydraulic pipes before starting.
  • Check the supporting beams are locked before starting operation.
  • One log at a time. Don’t rush into it.
  • Never use your legs to stabilize a log.
  • Do not hold the logs at the ends while loading the logs on the machine. Hold them in the middle, so that you can stay safe from the wedge. Immediately remove your hand when the wedge hits the log.
  • Remove the woods from the operating area. The clean workplace is especially relevant to better work!
  • If for some reason there is a partial split log do not remove the log with your hands. Reverse the log to neutral position first. Love your hand! Wedges have no mercy for your hands!
  • Be very cautious while changing the hydraulic or engine fluid.

Log Splitter Injuries

According to some solid institution data, I can say the injuries are severe in most cases. But with reference to a specific case of PubMed Central® (PMC), I can also assure you for some people these injuries can turn into a nightmare.

Injuries caused by uninstructed use pattern of a log splitter can be listed below:

  • Finger Amputation
  • Metacarpal fractures
  • Ragged skin flaps
  • Vascular compromise
  • Ligament disruption

The pressure generated by a log splitter is approximately 14 meganewtons per square meter, which is enough to crush your bone. This pressure can cause severe crush injuries mentioned above.

A Lesson from Real World

I am going to share a true story with you.  Mike, one of my friends told me this story of his uncle. His uncle loved firewood. It was his hobby. Roaming in the woods every weekend and collecting great logs for his fire. He never knew this was going to cost him just because he did not know how to use a log splitter safely.

Only having an idea of how does a log splitter works will not assure your safety. You need to follow log splitter safety tips carefully.

Here’s what happened.

He was splitting some large-sized logs. Large logs are difficult to manage. What he did was absolutely prohibited. He used his leg to position the log. Meanwhile, he accidentally pressed the forward button. He was completely unaware of the situation.

As a result, his right leg was pressed from the toe. No, he did not lose his leg, but the damage was done. You can imagine the situation if your finger ever got pressed by a closing window or door!

What we learn from here are safety issues. We have discussed this in log splitter safety tips.

Operating Positions: Learn How to Use A Log Splitter Safely

First thing first! Select a flat, solid and dry place for setting up your log splitter. Only for some stability and safety reasons.

You can use an electric log splitter in a horizontal position. So, there is nothing much to say about it.

You need to place some heavy blocks behind the tires to prevent the splitter from moving on to you while recoiling.

Use your gas log splitter in a horizontal position. It is easy and safe. You can also use it in a vertical position. You just need to switch the position.

If you need to split large logs switch to a vertical position by simply re-locking the beam manually. But make sure you have properly locked the beam unless it will be a disaster!

So, in a nutshell, whether it’s electrical or gas splitter, you can use your machine in a horizontal or vertical position according to your need. Just be sure to double-check the beam lock.

Need Assistance To Operate?

For different brands, there can be different control handle but they have the same function. The control handle has basically three settings. In addition, read the manual first for a better result. You will get an idea about how to use a log splitter safely. I know-I know, ‘real men don’t read manuals’.  But most men like to keep the fingers and appendages working properly…

Forward Position: Load the log on the machine. Get ready. Move the control handle to forward position and hold it. You will see the wedge moving forward and splitting the log. When done release the handle and the wedge will return to its neutral position.

Neutral Position: When you release the control handle the wedge will stop moving. Or you can manually put the control in a neutral position. Just like your car’s neutral position/handbrake.

Reverse Position: Simple as it seems. After finishing a log, move the handle in a backward position to move the wedge open up. And now load it up again!

So, we hope you can now operate your log splitter with ease and from this article, you have gathered enough idea about how does a log splitter work.  And don’t forget the safety rules, please. Now let’s get to split some wood!


  1. A great resource page is Wikipedia log splitter section