Peter's Protection Plan

Ski mask, massacre, chainsaw, texas

Could there be any powerful hand tool more dangerous than a chainsaw ........ well, statistically, yes.

The "innocent" 2 lb lump hammer causes probably more injuries in the building trade than another other tool. It doesn't look dangerous - but it is.

Chainsaws look and are potentially dangerous, but statistically they're not.

When I hear of the odd story of so called 'accident' there is always a reason. Usually ignorance, abuse, complacency or all three.

All the years we've sold and hired chainsaws there have been no 'accidents'.

I put this down to saws that start. (Bad starters put you in a foul mood before you start). Chains that are sharp and set up correctly. (Trying to force a blunt burning chain through a log will 'knacker' you and probably flip you into a homicidal mood). Understanding the potential hazards involved in using chainsaws. (Sharp rotating tools require respect, discipline and understanding).

If you were to use a saw for any kind of commercial gain you are governed by the Health and Safety at Work Act. This basically states that the saw must have a working chain brake, an anti vibration system, all safety stickers applied to the machine. There is also clothing you would be required to wear.

Amateur, semi-pro, professional or tree climber, their PPE (personal protection equipment) vary slightly, but are basically the same.

First of all the forestry helmet . We only sell ones with A.B.S. shells (not polythene), fabric head cradle with synthetic leather sweat band (not plastic), rear rain bib. Full face screen with a peak (metal mesh is best for vision and ventilation, goggles get greasy and fogged). The ear defenders are Husqvarnas' own patented click out type, very robust with the best ear seals I've ever used. Every part of our helmets are available as spares.

My own opinion on priorities with safety equipment are first of all, ear defenders. Hearing damage is progressive. You may not think you need protection as your ears will normally deaden loud noise as a natural defence. In time you'll realise you were wrong.

Eye protection comes next. Saws produce chips of greasy wood, more of a nuisance that hazardous. Mesh visors are ideal even when dirty, vision is only slightly impaired.

The next item of PPE are gloves. I've known people use catering (chain mail) gloves, also heavy leather gloves. Neither provide saw protection. The main feature of chainsaw gloves is patch of ballistic material fixed to the back of the left glove. If your left hand were to slip onto the saw chain, you have that moment. (Gloves are not saw proof, but are saw resistant).

Next you have the trousers or chaps (leggings). The trousers will stop a chain. The way they work is this. The front of the trouser consists of around 9 layers of fabric. The outer is the trouser itself. The remaining layers consist of what appears to be white padding. This is in fact long strands of nylon layered into around 8 layers. As the saw chain cuts into the trouser and goes into the layers, hundreds of long nylon strands are drawn out and into the chain, bar and drive sprocket, almost instantly jamming the chainsaw. The nylon padding on most makes of trousers and chaps are similar. What, in my opinion, makes Husqvarna better is the fit (tailoring). Light and durable material and will retain their durability after many washes. In this respect Husqvarna are about the best.

Finally, foot wear. You have two options here. Wellington boots or leather boots.

The most popular option for ground work world wide are the wellington boots. They are calf length with lace up tops, steel toe caps with ballistic rubber built in the sides and front from toe to shin. (Boots are saw resistant, not proof). These are worn under the safety trousers (as the trousers are the best form of protection).

The leather boots have the same type of protection as the 'wellies', in addition they have extra rubber around the sides of the boot. They are lace up, black, polyurethane impregnated waterproof leather, with Kevlar stitching (these are tough boots).

The main difference in P.P.E. between amateur, semi pro, professional and tree climbers are the trousers. Amateurs and semi pro can wear 'chaps'. They are sold in one size, but can be shortened. They have protection in the front of the legs, are seatless, have rear leg zips plus an adjustable belt. They are made of a very durable dark blue fabric.

There are 3 types of pro trousers. One is Classic, one is Functional (the most popular choice) and one is T20 Pro with rip stop. Classic are made of the same durable material as the chaps. Functional are only slightly more expensive. They have a soft lightweight very hard wearing 'cordura' fabric, elasticated gusset, elasticated waist, high back (better fit when using braces), covered pockets plus orange piping. They are specifically tailored for chain saw use (very comfortable).
The Technical T20 Pro trousers are in 4 way RipStop material and are reinforced with Aramid in high wear areas. These are light and comfortable due to reduced amount of layers and have excellent ventilation.

Finally the climbers trousers. Chaps, Classic, Functional and Technical T20 Pro have front of leg protection. Climbers trousers have protection all around each leg, as climbers can get into awkward positions and they need protection from all angles. These are Technical C trousers in 4 way RipStop material.

Although all trousers have belt loops, we always recommend 'Husqvarna' braces. These are wide, very tough and come in button or clip designs. They are orange with the black 'Husqvarna' logo printed (your thin red 'yuppie' braces will not do!!).

Chain saw trousers are a little bit heavier than ordinary trousers. As you are bending a lot to use the saw a belt can constrict the blood flow to your lower body - braces are better.

When we fit people with trousers we are never concerned about waist size. The most important fit is leg length as trousers provide the best protection. Wear them as long as possible.

We do supply jackets, not a legal requirement, but great jackets either with or without saw protection. Forest jackets and Arbour jackets. Blue jacket with orange full yoke with maximum ventilation, double cuffs (keeps the wood chips out), chest pockets, zipped with chip flaps, high collar, zip and popper front and extended back with longer arms for maximum reach. (Very nice jackets).

All items can be purchased separately, but we do have a special offer 'logger clobber' kit. This consists of a 'pro' forestry helmet, Husqvarna chaps, saw gloves, pro forestry boots (with a choice of sizes for boots and gloves). Included in this is a kit bag made of strong Cordura nylon with 2 large front and back pockets. These are very stylish and durable bags (we sell a lot of these on their own). I'm sure most people take them on holiday and never let them near dirty, oily chain saws!!!!

Safety clothing - click here