Given the cutting power and massive vibrations generated by your average chainsaw, it makes perfect sense that you’ll want to wear some safety gear. The question is – what gear is essential?
When it comes to using a chainsaw, almost every piece of safety gear is essential, because many things can go wrong when you’re cutting down branches, trees, and so on. In this article, you’ll learn about the most important pieces of protective gear and their classification, so that you can always find options that match your chainsaw’s power.
Before delving deeper into the various types of safety gear for chainsaw operators, you should know that the gear comes in various classes. The chainsaw fabric classification goes from 0 to 3. Each class is indicative of the stopping power.
- Class 0 – 36mph
- Class 1 – 45mph
- Class 2 – 54mph
- Class 3 – 63mph
Class 1 safety gear is what most casual users wear on common woodworking and maintenance projects. But, for industrial jobs or cutting down large trees, you’ll want to wear Class 2 or 3 safety equipment.
Chainsaw Safety Boots
Chainsaw safety boots come in different classes, with Class 1 safety boots being the most common. As is the case with trousers, gloves, and jackets, safety boots feature cut proof fabric protection. The fabric can protect the operator from side and top cuts.
The safety boots should feature steel-toe reinforcement in the front for added protection against materials and debris falling down.
Chainsaw Safety Trousers
Chainsaw safety trousers or pants are a very interesting gear choice. It’s a rather modern concept that’s not cut proof but can prevent serious injuries, nonetheless. This type of trousers is there to slow down or even bring the chainsaw blade to a complete halt.
So, how do they work? It’s simple, really. The outer layer of a pair of chainsaw safety trousers won’t do much. The chainsaw will cut right through it. But, the interior layers, usually made out of Kevlar or nylon, are woven in such a way that they can wrap around the chainsaw, lock it, and stop the chain from doing its job.
Finally, there are two types of chainsaw safety trousers when it comes to design – type A and C. Type A safety trousers offer only front protection and can be worn over your regular work clothes. Type C trousers offer full leg protection, including the crotch area, and can’t be worn over regular work pants.
Chainsaw Safety Helmet
Helmet is one of the most essential pieces of safety gear. It will protect your head against the impact from a kickback. Although few helmets can prevent a chainsaw from cutting through, if the chain breaks the damage to your head will be minimal, if any.
Since most helmets are made of hard plastic, they will degrade over time. Even sun exposure is enough to weaken the material. It’s recommended to change your helmet every three years or so.
A very cool thing about safety helmets is that some models also feature a built-in visor which you can pull down when needed. This type of design makes storing your gear easier. But, just because a helmet has a visor, it doesn’t mean that you can’t use goggles instead of the visor.
Chainsaw operators use goggles all the time. They fit well on the head and provide protection from incoming debris from all sides. But, they also infer an additional investment in most cases. Therefore, they’re preferred in woodworking shops where operators work on fixed table saws and need only the basic head and eye protection.
When you’re cutting wood with a chainsaw, your hands are usually in the greatest danger. These are powerful tools that can sometimes kickback. What a safety mitt or glove does is give you a better grip and protects the hand.
If you’re using a traditional right-handed chainsaw, it’s very important to protect your left hand as it is the more exposed and vulnerable one. Although safety gloves have good padding, it is only featured on the sides and on top.
Padding is not used in the palm of the gloves in order to avoid compromising flexibility and the grip.
Take Your Cues from the Pros
If you’ve ever seen an episode of AX Men you should know that there’s no shame in wearing safety gear when operating a chainsaw. Even the smallest tasks can end up being life threatening when you’re working with a chainsaw. If you stick to the options presented in this article, you’ll give yourself enough protection, provided you know how to handle a chainsaw and aren’t using a too powerful model.
A hardcore woodworking and welding enthusiast, Russ is the editor-in-chief of TAH. In his spare time, Russ loves watching sports, and (binge) watching Netflix.