It is vital that anyone using a chainsaw either on or off the ground is provided with protective gear. No matter how experienced the operator chainsaws are potentially lethal. A vast range of chainsaw safety equipment on the market makes it relatively easy to improve safety when handling these dangerous tools.
First, make sure you use personal protective equipment (PPE) like a helmet and chainsaw chaps. Next, do not overlook the obvious. Make sure you go through the chainsaws manual and follow the guidelines for maintenance and operation.
With every job, you’ve to know what the work application risks are. In most cases an accident from a chainsaw is through an unplanned event, preparation is key. Below is a list of chainsaw equipment you should own in order to protect yourself or your workforce.
1. Chainsaw Boots
Chainsaw boots include firm layers of a protective material combined with a reinforced ankle, metatarsal and Achilles tendon areas to reduce the chance of cutting through. The chainsaw boots should have a leather lace-up style and ideally with many layers of Kevlar for protection. Some chainsaw boot models also incorporate ballistic grade nylon for cut protection and have protective guarding at the front and instep. A good rule of thumb is to purchase the best pair you can afford. You may also want to read our review on these Meindl chainsaw boots.
2. Chainsaw Trousers
Chainsaw trousers should be layered with special fabrics to provide maximum protection to those who work with a chainsaw. Chainsaw trousers are made with a durable outer layer and an inner layer of loose, long Kevlar fibres. Should the chainsaw trousers be cut into whilst tree felling or logging wood, the special fibres jam and shred the chain to limit the damage to the operator’s leg. This chainsaw PPE kit can help prevent serious or even fatal injuries so don’t skimp and look at offerings from reputable brands such as SIP, Oregon, Stein and Arbotec. Type C trousers offer the fullest protection and are perfect for workers in tree surgeon or climbing roles. You should also see our top 5 chainsaw pants as voted by our customers.
3. Helmets With Built-In Communication Services
There are 2 main types of helmets, climbing helmets and ground helmets. A helmet protects your head while sawing. Helmets offer remarkable protection for your head against impact with a cut bar in the event of a kickback. The helmet also provides protection against serious injuries from falling debris or branches, though they are only effective against cut-through if the chain brake is fully engaged. Ground helmets should also have integrated face shields and hearing protection for total safety.
Exposure to the sun causes the plastic of the chainsaw helmet to weaken over time. It is highly recommended you replace the helmet every 3 to 5 years. Many chainsaw helmets have a built-in sticker which purposefully fades with exposure to sunlight, so when it fades, it should be instantly replaced.
With built-in communications operators can always keep in touch with their co-workers and in the event of an emergency where time matters help will never be far away.
4. Chainsaw Gloves
Chainsaw gloves should have cut proof special fabric protection like that of chainsaw trousers, though it should be only at the back of the left hand. History has shown that most injuries associated with chainsaws occur at the back of the left hand. Since it is vital that these gloves are flexible this limits the amount of padding they can have. They are still an essential piece of equipment and tree surgeons will often have more than one pair in their inventory.
5. First Aid Kit
Chainsaw workers are recommended to have a first aid kit containing a large wound dressing. This subject is covered in detail here.
While not strictly a piece of chainsaw PPE kit at all times when workers are using chainsaws, it is recommended to have an emergency whistle to call for aid if they are seriously injured. The working colleagues may be nearby, but unable to hear you due to the noise of their own running chainsaw. A whistle is high pitched enough to pierce through this.
7. Chainsaw Jacket
The chainsaw jacket should have pads of cut-retardant material that are designed to reduce the severity of injury to the body parts covered by pads. Jackets should have special fibres within the pads to provide layers of materials designed to rip apart when they do come into contact with a moving chain. Chainsaw jackets are designed to reduce the chainsaws rate of cutting and eventually stop it. This piece of chainsaw safety gear is not as popular due to the excess warmth they give but they are growing in popularity.
8. Hi-vis Chainsaw Shirt
A chainsaw worker should also wear a chainsaw shirt. A long sleeved shirt is highly recommended for proper safety. The shirt should have at least 7 layers of tough material sewn into the collar, sleeve and shoulder areas to prevent falling branches from penetrating the shirt. This keeps your upper torso safe whilst cutting.
9. Goggles, Visor or Helmet
Goggles, visors or a helmet decrease the chance of chips penetrating your eyes. Even a simple mesh visor with imperfect coverage of the face could be considered acceptable since the chips produced are relatively uniform in size. Some chainsaw users prefer goggles the choice often depends on the environment and the climate. A visor provides better ventilation and fuller face protection.
As well as ensuring you have all the relevant chainsaw safety equipment it’s also advisable to purchase the best chainsaw you can afford. Don’t skimp on the quality of something that can be potentially lethal. Checkout Chainsaw Geek for some of the best chainsaw reviews. Also, follow the advice on sharpening your chainsaw.
10. Head Torch
A head torch keeps both hands free to concentrate on the job at hand. Whether handling motor equipment or undertaking emergency pruning tasks in the dark a head torch will illuminate your immediate surroundings. While most models are for close range work some are better suited to improve long-range vision, perfect for use in woodlands and forestry. Look for models with long battery life and high lumen output.