Chainsaw Protective Clothing
Going safe with chainsaw protective clothing
A chainsaw is a tool that makes the felling, timbering or cutting of trees and logs of wood easy and faster. Cutting a log of wood or felling a tree requires enormous power and sharp blades. Using a chainsaw is not without its own share of concerns. In fact, it is quite a risky task since you are dealing with objects that are very heavy, sharp, powerful, and generate minute particles that can easily get into organs and cause discomfort or damage. While most modern chainsaws come with their own safety measures, it will all be futile if the user does not exercise necessary precautions while operating them. Neglecting the safety measures is at one’s own peril. It can prove to be quite dangerous and even fatal in some cases. The safety measures that one has to undertake range from the practices followed to the clothing worn.
For your own safety while using a chainsaw wether electric, petrol, or cordless you should wear your complete protective gear. Keeping the safety of their citizens in mind the governments have made stringent rules and regulations for chainsaw protective clothing. Also, there are regulations for the components that should be used while using a chainsaw. In fact, each component in the protective gear or clothing has specifications that have to be met. By specifications, I mean the material, the size, and certifications to comply. Each component should be certified by the regulatory body before it is released in the market.
In this regard, let us take a look at some of the protective clothing that one can buy while using a chainsaw. This should help you make a conscious decision on getting the best protective clothing before you embark on your cutting task. A complete kit is something that offers complete protection to all body parts while involved in operating the chainsaw. Let us take a look at one such complete kit manufactured by Oregon.
1. Oregon chainsaw safety clothing kit with universal leggings / seatless trousers, gloves and helmet
This safety clothing kit from Oregon is a combination of key safety clothing parts from Oregon that include a pair of Oregon universal chainsaw safety leggings designed to offer front protection only, a pair of large gloves with chainsaw safety feature for the left hand, manufactured by Oregon, and an Oregon Yukon chainsaw safety Helmet. Let us take a look at each of the parts included and study their specification:
- Oregon chainsaw safety leggings: The safety leggings come in universal size leggings and comply with the EN381-5 Class 1 Type A specifications. It is designed to offer frontal protection to the user. Made of breathable fabric it is lightweight, cool and functional. There are buckles on each leg as well as the waist to secure the leggings. The belt on the chainsaw leggings is adjustable for both length and waist circumference. Overall this is easy to wear and inspires confidence once worn, other than being ergonomic as well.
- Oregon chainsaw safety gloves: The chainsaw protective gloves are meant for left hand protection only and are compliant to the EN381-7 specification. The right hand glove is a regular one of the same large size. Made of smooth leather, the Oregon chainsaw safety gloves has a close-fit wrist design. Offering high visibility, the gloves gives the user an excellent chainsaw feel. It is easy to wear while being extremely durable.
- Oregon chainsaw safety helmet: Oregon Yukon safety helmet combination is compliant with the EN397, EN352-3, and EN1731 safety specification. Made of Polypropylene (PP), this is an impact resistant headgear that bears a 6 point easy to adjust harness. It is equipped with a wide stainless steel mesh visor that is both strong and durable. There is a pair of earmuffs as well to protect your ears from high decibel noise. The arrangement consists of 6 ventilation holes to enable air circulation and breathability. Overall, it should be comfortable to wear while offering the required protection.
That was a complete kit with all the needed components for a chainsaw protective gear. It was for a beginner who just started using a chainsaw. But, if you are someone who has been using the chainsaw for some time you will know about all the components already. You may have already bought some of the components. In the next session, we will look into the individual parts in case if you have damaged or are missing any of the components you will have to buy them separately. The chainsaw protective gear consists of a helmet with visor, protective goggles, sound defenders, trousers, gloves, hand mitts, and even boots. At some places people wear a jacket over the trouser to cover your upper torso fully. Let us start with the gloves.
2. Gloves - genuine Stihl standard chain saw gloves
Gloves are used to protect your hands from being cut or injured while using a chainsaw. If the chain happens to touch your hands it can cause serious injury. Do not even think about it if the chainsaw was turned on. So wearing gloves is very important. Here, let us see one of the gloves that can be used while working with a chainsaw.
The gloves we are going to review here are from Stihl who are experienced in manufacturing protective gears. This is a pair of gloves that are made of a mixed material of leather and textile. The durability and comfort are increased by this combination. The leather gives the needed protection and the textile enforces it with the comfort needed to wear it for a longer duration. The gloves are certified and are made to meet the EN 381-7 standard class zero. Hence you can use these for domestic use as well as professional use.
The material is an elasticised one which makes it lightweight and perfectly fit. You need protection mainly for the back of the hands (both right and left hands). As I mentioned earlier these are for someone who is familiar with the workings of a chainsaw or should have some level of experience in wood cutting using the machinery. More than the cut these gloves will protect your hands from dirt, water, chips, or stones that fly in the air while the chainsaw is running.
3. Trousers - KWF certified cut resistant trousers from SWS
After your hands, the most danger prone part of is the front part of your body. You have to cover it with trousers that is strong enough to withstand the chain speed. It is practically impossible to find a material that can withstand the speed of different chainsaws (Chainsaws can be very fast up to 28 metres per second). In the case of trousers, there are two types – Type A and Type C based on the area it covers. They are divided into 4 classes – Class 0, 1, 2, and 3. Before buying any chainsaw protective gear, make sure the class of the chainsaw and the gear matches.
Here, we will review the chainsaw trousers form SWS Forest and Garden. This is a Type C and class 1 chainsaw trousers that is certified by KWF – an organisation that looks into the safety measures of the forestry works and technology. The cut protection material used in this trouser obeys to the EN 381-5 that is accepted as suitable for chainsaw working. You can order or get the trousers according to your waist size. It will be better to order a piece that is not too tight too loose. The suspenders used here are elastic and will stay perfectly fit the body.
The waist band is also elastic to give the comfort needed for the user. The trouser is made of Polyester (or you can even say 100% PES). Polyester is a material that is known for its strength and a chainsaw trousers need material like that to be durable and safe. This model has two front pockets that are slanted to keep your smaller tools. Weighing just 1.16 KGs this trouser can be worn for a longer duration.
4. Goggles - Full-view goggles from Vollschutzbrille
Goggles are the next component that you need to work with a chainsaw. Goggles protect your eyes from damage while trousers protect your body. Let us look at one of the best goggles available in the market now.
This is an anti-fog (Duramass AF4 coating) goggles that can protect your eyes from dust, small wooden clippings, and even chemical splashes. Even though you are buying this as chainsaw protective gear you can use this anytime when you need protection for your eyes. Wearing this will not block your vision in anyway because this is a full-view goggle. The safety standards (EN166) are met and there is a rubber strap that can help you in wearing this properly – a perfectly fit goggles. While being anti-fog this is also scratch resistant.
5. Boots - Cofra Power chainsaw boots forestry boot
The next component in the protective gear kit is boots. This also should be made from a fabric that can protect the user from cuts. Hence it should meet the EN345 Class 2 standard. When you go shopping for boots make sure that the product complies with this standard. To ensure that, buy it from a known manufacturer. Here we are going to see the boots from a company that has experience in this field for more than 5 decades.
The product is made mainly out of leather. The outer material used on this boots is a cut protection material that can be used with a chainsaw. The sole is made of Nitrile Rubber and the boots should be tied tight using lace. The heel has a height of 2 centimetres and the whole material used is water resistant. This product meets the EN345 Class 2 standard that means the maximum chain speed it can withstand is 24 m/s. The lining, footbed, and the sole are made of durable and comfortable materials.
6. Ear protectors or sound defenders - 3M Peltor Optime III earmuffs with headband
The last one on this list is a sound defender or ear protector. All the ear protectors that are used while working with a chainsaw should meet EN352 – 1 standard. These are developed to use in extremely noisy environments. A chainsaw can sometimes produce up to 115 dB which is way higher than the allowed limit of 80 or 85 dB.
The key features of this ear protector are:
- Comfort: The sealing rings are broad and a hygienic foil is used to cover them. The mix (combination of foam and liquid) used gives an optimum covering resulting in low contact pressure. Very less contact with the skin makes the ear protectors comfortable to wear for long term use.
- Attenuation: The double casing and twin cup design reduce the resonance which in turn reduces the frequency up to 35 dB.