Some people refuse to wear safety equipment and protective equipment no matter what tool they are operating.
Inconvenient, too expensive, too uncomfortable, get’s in the way – are all common excuses.
But the reality is, you only need one injury from a chainsaw chain, or any high powered tool like chainsaw for that matter for it to be life changing.
To put it in perspective, there’s over 28,000 chainsaw injuries annually in the US alone.
Common side effects of chainsaw injuries include:
- Medical and surgical costs
- Long term physical effects – potential disability or loss of use or feeling of body parts
- Time off work and loss of income
- Effect on friends and family members
The following is a list of the 7 most important chainsaw safety gear and equipment to protect your body from harm.
A note – we chose not to mention pulleys, ropes, harnesses and hoisting gear in this article – which are specialised pieces of equipment, and should be a part of any professional arborist or tree lopper’s safety kit.[toc]
Chainsaw Safety Gear & Protective Equipment: Top 7 Most Important Safety Items
1. Chainsaw Chaps, Pants or Trousers
90% of chainsaw injuries occur to the legs and lower extremities.
Chainsaw chaps cover mainly the thighs and upper legs, but full wrap chaps and pants also cover the lower leg and back of the legs.
Specially designed padding and protective material like kevlar will bunch up in the chainsaw chain when it is hit – giving you time to pull the chainsaw away before it damages your legs.
Chainsaw chaps only work with cordless (battery operated or gas powered) chainsaws.
You can read more about the best chainsaw chaps in Best Chainsaw & Pants: Buyer’s Guide and Reviews.
2. Chainsaw Helmet with Face Mask
The chainsaw chain isn’t the only hazard you encounter when working with a chainsaw.
Other hazards include the debris flying away from the cutting surface, and of course overhead branches.
A good chainsaw helmet is strong enough to protect your head from falling branches (or in the case you fall from the tree and your head makes contact with the ground), and usually includes a hardened plastic face mask.
Face masks give your face and eyes added protection from debris.
3. Chainsaw Hearing Protection/Earmuffs
Chainsaws can obviously be very loud to operate!
It’s common these days for a chainsaw helmet to come with earmuffs, but you can also buy them separately.
The acceptable decibel level to be exposed to over an 8 hour period without experiencing long term hearing loss is 90 decibels.
The average chainsaw operates at 110 decibels – so, hearing protection is vital!
4. Chainsaw Gloves
Climbing trees and handling course wood and branches (in addition to dirty plant matter) all day can be tough work on your hands.
To protect against scratches, cuts and dirt, a good pair of chainsaw gloves is a must.
Common materials are leather, nylon on the palms and inside of the fingers, with some form of cut resistant material on the back of the hand.
Gloves should be comfortable, allow you to move your fingers fluidly (be functional), and close up around the wrists to prevent debris entering the gloves.
You can read more about Chainsaw Gloves in Best Chainsaw Gloves & Tree Climbing Gloves: Buyer’s Guide & Reviews
5. Chainsaw Boots
Chainsaw boots are generally the standard steel capped boots/work wear boots.
6. Chainsaw Safety Glasses
Safety glasses generally achieve two purposes:
- Are made from a material like hardened plastic to protect your eyes from debris
- Some glasses are additionally tinted (if you work in the bright sun regularly) to protect your eyes from UV rays
7. Chainsaw Suspenders
Suspenders are generally for the heavier chainsaw chaps.
The suspenders will save your legs and body the extra weight of the chaps by dispersing the load across your shoulders and rest of your body.
Chainsaw Safety Gear & Protective Equipment Resources