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male using chipper by wood pile

Chipper (and Chipper Shredder) Safety Tips

Chippers and Chipper Shredders are powerful machines. Safe operation is largely a matter of respecting that power and taking common sense precautions before you begin working.

Prepare the Site

  • Choose a flat, stable surface for positioning the chipper.
  • Don't accept a precarious spot just because it is very close to the wood you want to chip.
  • If your chipper has wheels make sure they are chalked or otherwise stabilized (e.g., attached to a tow vehicle) to ensure that it doesn't roll or shift during operation.

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

  • Wear gloves! Just handling branches can be rough on bare hands, and when a chipper knife starts pulling them into the machine they will sometimes thrash around. Use leather-or smooth synthetic gloves, not cloth which can easily snag on woody materials. Choose gloves that are snug fitting and have no loose cuffs or drawstrings. Back-of-the-hand padding is a good feature for this work.
  • Wear goggles or safety glasses! Chipping creates airborne particles and eye protection is essential.
  • Ear Protection! Use over-the-head protectors or ear plugs rated for at least 20 dba to protect your hearing.
... Always wear proper protective gear to keep yourself safe.


  • Wear shoes with non-slip treads. If you have safety shoes, we recommend wearing them. Do not use the machine while barefoot or wearing open sandals.
  • Long pants are recommended.
  • Wear either short sleeves or long sleeves that close at the wrist and have no loose cuffs that might catch on wood.
  • Avoid any loose clothing or jewelry, which can catch on moving parts or the material fed into the chipper hopper.
  • Avoid clothing with hoods or drawstrings.


  • Keep other people, children, or pets well clear of the work site. If you are working with a helper, make sure they use similar PPE and clothing.
  • Never put hands or other body parts inside the hopper.
  • Don't insert anything into the chipper's hopper that could damage the machine and/or cause injury.
  • Never allow people who are unfamiliar with these instructions to use the chipper.
  • Before you attempt to clear a clog or replace a chipper knife, disconnect the spark plug.
  • Read the operator's manual!

Make a Routine

Using a chipper or chipper shredder routinely is a good way to keep up with wood that may otherwise accummulate on your land. It will also help create safe work habits through repetition. Always use PPE (personal protective equipment) when you work. Finally, we will continue to add useful equipment and apparel so check back with us or sign up for new product alerts and we will deliver them to your inbox!

Last updated: 7/11/2022


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