Working with a chainsaw is a dangerous profession due to the use of the machinery and the factors involved. When working with chainsaws, you need to work at a height, therefore, you could be prone to being hit by loose chipping and falling objects.
Chainsaw protective clothing is essential when working with a chainsaw to minimise the risk of injury. Gustharts has several chainsaw protective clothing items you can invest in to keep yourself safe when using machinery. In this guide, we’ll focus on what protective clothing you should wear when using a chainsaw.
Safety is the main priority when using a chainsaw, and there are many protective items you can wear. Falling objects and flying debris could cause potential injuries when using a chainsaw, so being kitted out in chainsaw protection clothing is paramount for your safety. Various items of protective chainsaw clothing, such as boots, trousers and helmets, are needed when operating a chainsaw. Read on to find out what protective equipment you need and how each item can protect you.
The EU classification standards determine the requirements and testing for each piece of chainsaw clothing. The classification standards also provide numerical categorisation for the resistance of chainsaw clothing against the blade's speed. The numerical categories are split into four classes:
• Class 0 - 16 metres per second (36 mph)
• Class 1 - 20 metres per second (45 mph)
• Class 2 - 24 metres per second (54 mph)
• Class 3 - 28 metres per second (63 mph)
These classes represent the speed at which the chainsaw clothing can withstand a chainsaw blade without damage. Chainsaw protective clothing does not fully protect the user against injury; however, it greatly reduces the chance of an accident.
Chainsaw boots should adhere to EN 381-3 regulations and are designed with a breathable material for comfort when using machinery and a good grip when working on uneven surfaces. Chainsaw boots have a steel toe cap and cut-resistant inlay to help reduce the risk of injury. Some chainsaw boots have a midsole to protect the wearer from underfoot penetration. Chainsaw boots help to protect your feet and should be chosen based on suitability.
Class 1 is the lowest standard that is allowed for chainsaw trousers. There are two types of chainsaw trousers; Type A and Type C. Type A chainsaw trousers cover the front of the legs and are ideal for those working on the ground. Type C trousers offer protection for all areas of the legs and are perfect for arborists who work at heights.
Chainsaw trousers are packed with very strong ballistic fibres called Aramid fibres, which offer high levels of protection. Chainsaw trousers are durable and breathable for easy and comfortable movement when using machinery. When buying chainsaw trousers, you should consider personal comfort for performing tasks.
Chainsaw gloves allow the wearer sufficient control and grip whenever handling a chainsaw and fall under the EN 381-7 regulations. Chainsaw gloves are flexible and can help soften the chainsaw’s vibration. Gloves can help to reduce the risk of the user suffering minor cuts when handling or sharpening the chainsaw.
Chainsaw jackets reduce the risk of injury from accidental contact with a chainsaw blade and are designed to protect the upper body, falling under EN-381-11 regulations. Chainsaw jackets are designed with a protective inlay that covers the shoulders, arms and chest on the front and back. The non-protective section of the jacket should be no bigger than 70mm, while the protective inlay should cover at least 80% of the front surface.
When using a chainsaw, you may experience flying debris and wood chippings that pose a risk to your eyes, making eye protection crucial. Mesh visors are ideal for ventilation to keep yourself cool when using machinery and protect you from debris. Safety glasses are great for protecting your eyes without restricting your vision. Safety glasses observe EN 166 regulations, while mesh visors should conform to EN 1731 requirements.
Chainsaws usually run at sounds of around 109 decibels, which is why hearing protection is important. You will need adequate hearing protection, regulated under EN 352-1, to help drop the noise level to 85 decibels or below. Listening to sounds over 85 decibels for extended periods can increase your risk of hearing loss.
Chainsaw helmets are ideal for arborists who often work at a height for protection from any potential falling debris. If your helmet suffers a major impact, you should replace your helmet immediately. Sun exposure can cause your helmet to weaken, so it is recommended that you change it every 3-5 years.
Some chainsaw helmets are available with hearing and eye protection for increased safety. Basic safety helmets are regulated under EN 397, while helmets that test for side, front and back impact should conform to EN12492. Arborists should wear a helmet that tests for side, front and back impact if working with a rope and harness.
There are a couple of main ways chainsaw clothing protects against the blade; chain slipping and clogging. Chain slipping occurs when the chainsaw comes in contact with the steel toe cap of your chainsaw boots. Instead of cutting through the steel toe cap, the chainsaw will slip off.
Clogging is designed to clog the chainsaw sprocket by pulling the fibres out of the trousers when they come in contact with the blade. The sprocket will become clogged before the chainsaw can work through all layers of the trousers, making them highly effective protective equipment.
Chainsaw trousers should always be worn when operating a chainsaw and are the best option for protecting your legs. The chainsaw trousers you choose depend on the activity you will be doing. If you are most likely to be working on the ground, then Type A chainsaw trousers will offer adequate protection. Type C chainsaw trousers will be best suited for those working at heights.
Eye protection is essential when operating a chainsaw to protect your eyes from flying debris. Safety goggles or a mesh visor are great options to protect your eyes. Many helmets have a mesh visor, offering protection from debris and ventilation. Safety goggles are great at protecting your eyes from any loose material, such as dust and wood chippings, that could cause potential injuries.