A chainsaw is one of the most versatile and powerful tools that might turn horrific if not used abiding by the standard instructions. After learning the use of chainsaw, it stands unavoidable to know about important chainsaw safety gears. When choosing protective gears, it must be your concern to meet the safety standards of that specialized region regarding that specific product.
In the United States of America, organizations like the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM), and American National Standard Institute (ANSI) have a standard for chainsaw safety gears such as gloves, helmet, appropriate boots, etc.
Regardless of the law of the state in which you live – you must be very careful about your safety while working with this power tool. Wearing proper protective gear might avert the chances of any potential accident. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, more than 250 people die annually in chainsaw-related accidents, and a massive number of people sustain major and serious injuries.
However, these catastrophic events can surely be eliminated by knowing the proper use of a chainsaw and wearing all necessary chainsaw safety gears. Followings are necessary personal protection equipment (PPE) that must be put on while using a chainsaw.
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Chainsaw Personal Protection Equipment (PPE)
When it comes to using a chainsaw for cutting firewood, it is mandatory to cover and protect yourself from top to toe. Let me give you a very clear idea about the must-required protective gears while working with the chainsaw;
The Head is one of the most sensitive parts of the human body – even a minor accident can lead to unimaginable consequences. Meanwhile, the helmet is intended to provide protection from head injuries that might be caused by falling branches or an unanticipated kickback. While cutting twigs and branches from the tree, the helmet becomes an even more important chainsaw safety gear.
Whether you are using a chainsaw yourself for cutting firewood or you are standing by the side of someone who is doing the job – you must wear a hard helmet with an easily visible color and strap on the chin that could prevent the helmet from falling.
Make sure that you are buying a good helmet that can meet the requirements enshrined in the local law book regarding chainsaws. Consider changing your chainsaw helmet after 3 to 5 years. If it gives cracking sounds, that is the time to change your helmet and buy a new one.
2. Earmuffs (Ear Defenders)
The average noise level of most chainsaws is around 106dbs which is far beyond the maximum recommended level of hearable sound of 80dbs without using earmuffs. The use of earmuffs massively reduces the noise level to below 80dbs and eliminates the chances of any danger of deafness or permanent loss of ears.
Now, there arises a question that how much should be attenuation of earmuffs that are to be used to remain within the safe limit of sound.
Technically, different chainsaws create different levels of sound which is written in the user manuals. Bear in mind that you have to bring the level of noise to 80dbs; so, if your chainsaw creates the noise of 105dbs, you must use earmuffs with the attenuation of at least 25 or 30.
Therefore, it must be ensured to have earmuffs in your ears whether you are using a chainsaw on your own or standing by the side of someone who is using it.
3. Goggles and Visor
Woods chips usually fall in your eyes while cutting woods and cutting trees using a chainsaw – and this is the reason that you must protect your eyes and your face. If you do not have a helmet with a visor, it will be fine to put on Goggle and Visor.
Goggles are certainly worn to avoid the falling of dust and wood chips while working – however, the visor is also of great importance; it does not only give protection but also maintains good ventilation through its evenly distributed meshes.
Although the whole face isn’t covered with visor and goggles, still enough safety has been ensured because finer chainsaws cut the finest resulting in minimum dust and wood chips. Before you buy a goggle and visor to use while working with a chainsaw, make sure that it meets the required standards.
4. Protective Jacket
A jacket is also a very important chainsaw safety gear that cannot be ignored. In case of unfortunate kickbacks, the chest remains the most vulnerable part of the body that must be protected – and yes it can be protected using the protective jacket.
The jacket you are wearing must possess some protective materials that could slow down that chain’s rate of cutting by reducing the speed of the machine unless it clogs completely. If you are doing the job wearing this jacket, there are truly very less chances of any serious injury to your chest and abdominal part. The jacket you are buying must match the standards.
5. Protective Trouser and Chaps
Chainsaw chaps appear to be very important to wear over the protective pants. Chaps are usually put on to avoid deep cuts to the legs. To make it clear for you, let me tell you that there had been reported more than 24,000 chainsaw injuries in 2014 according to U.S Consumer Safety Product Commission, and more than 30% of these injuries were to the knees and legs.
Despite using the most advanced materials, it is impossible to streamline a chap that shows no impact against the sharp teeth of the chainsaw. It might prevent the rigorous action of the chainsaw by reducing its speed – yet the safety isn’t complete. So, to come up with this deficiency, it is necessary to wear trousers. Meanwhile, trousers have two main types named Type A and Type C.
Type A is famous for protecting legs only from the front and is often used as chap. It can be used over conventional clothes. While the Type C trouser protects users from all the sides, and it is not worn over another garment.
The formation of these trousers is truly magnificent – the outermost layer of the trouser might be slippery or solid to cope with low-magnitude damage. Under the solid or slippery surface, there are loose and long fibers of polyester or ballistic nylon. So, when the chain of the chainsaw comes in contact with the trouser, it cuts the outer surface immediately, but then it faces huge resistance because fibers wrap around the drive sprocket saw of the chainsaw reducing its speed and then halting it completely.
6. Steel-Toe Boots
While working with a chainsaw, users must wear steel-toe boots with layers of protective fibers to avoid injury in case of any unexpected event. Your boots should be able to give you protection from all sides.
Meanwhile, make sure that you are buying boots that are marked as suitable for the chainsaw. Most of the time, these boots are made up of cut-resistant material or ballistic nylon to offer maximum protection against cuts.
Remember that the right chainsaw safety gear depends upon your circumstances. Make sure that you are adequately protected against possible hazards – and always consider your PPE as an investment for your safety other than merely an additional cost.
And the most important thing; ensure that your safety gears meet the standard of gears marked as permissible and safe to use.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q1. What safety equipment is required for chainsaw?
If you are using chainsaw, you must put on the following safety gears;
- Protective trouser and chaps
- Goggle and visor (if you do not have helmet)
- Steel-toe boots
- Earmuffs, and
- Protective jacket
Ensure to wear all these protective gears to avoid any unpleasant event while being on the job.
Q2. What is the best class for chainsaw protection?
Class three is the best class for chainsaw protection. Experiments revealed that class 1 trousers provide good protection against chainsaw with speed of 20 m/s. while class 2 trousers can defend against the chainsaws with the speed of 24 m/s, and class 3 trousers can offer protection against chainsaw that runs at 28 m/s.
Q3. Will Kevlar stop chainsaw?
Similar to cellulous fibers, Kevlar is also a material used in chaps. But it has been recorded less efficient against ballistic nylon, and fibers of polyester. Therefore, this material is not strong enough to stop chainsaw.