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Chain Saw Protective Gear

Overview


Chain saws are powerful cutting machines. That’s why it is critical to find and wear the right protective gear (often referred to as “personal protective equipment”) when using your chain saw, to reduce the risk of accidents and injury. While using protective gear won’t eliminate hazards, it may reduce the seriousness of an injury. Many times, protective gear is the only thing standing between a fatal situation and a non-fatal one.

 

Topics

Tips to Keep in Mind when Choosing Personal Protective Equipment

Protect Your Head with a Safety Helmet

Prevent Vision Loss with Protective Eyewear

Hearing protection

Use Chain Saw Chaps to Prevent Cuts and Stitches

Wear the Right Logging Boots to Avoid Foot Injuries

Chain Saw Gloves

  

Tips to Keep in Mind when Choosing Personal Protective Equipment

 

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Chainsaw protective gear is designed to protect six main areas of the body:

•Head
•Eyes
•Ears
•Legs
•Feet
•Hands

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Personal protective equipment should meet the specified safety standards for the region you live in. The Oregon Forestry catalog will note when a product meets ANSI or ASTM safety requirements.

In the United States, American National Standards Institute (ANSI) sets the standards for chain saw protective gear such as safety helmets and protective eyewear. ASTM is another organization with standards for chain saw protective gear.

Please note that safety standards may vary by country.

Additionally, brightly colored (or “hi-vis”) personal protective equipment is recommended to ensure that you are highly visible to others who may be in the vicinity of your cutting. Visibility and awareness of your surroundings can help reduce the risk of accidents.

 


 

Protect Your Head with a Safety Helmet

 

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A safety helmet or hard hat is the main type of head protection worn by chain saw users. The purpose of a safety helmet is to protect your head from the impact of falling branches. Wearing a helmet can help protect the brain against injuries such as concussions.

The original safety helmets were made out of aluminum. While aluminum hard hats are still worn today, the majority of safety helmets are now made out of plastic.

Regardless of the material you choose for your safety helmet, it’s important that it is structurally sound. If it has holes, dents, bad suspension or is discolored (in the case of plastic safety helmets), it’s time to get a new hat or fix the suspension.

You can test the structure of your plastic safety helmet by compressing it with your hands. If the helmet returns to the original shape after you release it, it is structurally sound. If not, your helmet should be replaced immediately.

Many of today’s helmets are built with additional safety features. Some safety helmets, like the one sold by Oregon, include a face shield. Face shields can help prevent cuts and scrapes from branches, flying wood chips, and saw dust. Other helmets can also include built-in ear muffs for hearing protection.

 


 

Prevent Vision Loss with Protective Eyewear

 

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There are several options when it comes to choosing protective eyewear including:

Face shield
Attaches directly onto your safety helmet.

Safety glasses
When selecting safety glasses, look for glasses with side shields or wraparounds for added protection. Additional features on safety glasses include scratch resistance, such as the Starlite model or UVA/UVB protection, such as Scorpion-Mag safety glasses.

Goggles
Goggles can offer a lot of eye protection – particularly for those who wear prescription glasses. They easily fit over regularly sized glasses and allows full vision in all directions.

Coverall eyewear
These coveralls fit over prescription glasses.

The main US safety standard for protective eyewear is ANSI Z87.1+. The majority of Oregon’s protective eyewear products meet this standard.

 


 

Hearing Protection

 

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There are two common forms of hearing protection used to block chain saw noise – ear plugs and ear muffs. Regardless of which form of hearing protection you choose, be sure to look for the noise reduction rating (NRR). For example, Oregon’s protective ear muffs have a NRR of 21DB or 24DB.

Ear plugs can be standard issue or come connected with a cord or band. Regardless of the type, ear plugs need to be inserted correctly in order to provide the best hearing protection.

To ensure the best fit and greatest protection, follow these steps:

  1. Roll the ear plug into a small cylinder.
  2. Pull your ear up and back to open the ear canal.
  3. Push the ear plug into your ear canal, holding it there for a few seconds until it fills your ear canal. This will provide the best fit and greatest protection.

Another hearing protection option are ear muffs. Ear muffs will provide you with the most protection from excessive noise. In addition to the NRR, you’ll also want to consider the weight of the ear muffs and how comfortable they are. Most protective ear muffs will have PVC cushions for added comfort.

For additional layer of protection, you can wear both ear plugs and ear muffs.

 


 

 

Use Chain Saw Chaps to Prevent Cuts and Stitches

 

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Chain saw chaps are coverings worn over your pants to protect your legs from being cut. If your legs are accidentally struck by the chain saw’s chain and bar, the chaps stop the chain saw by jamming the fly wheel. This means the chain saw won’t cut through to the leg. While you may get bruised, you likely won’t need stitches.

There are two different types of chain saw chaps: apron chaps and full-wrap chaps. Apron chaps only protect the front of your upper leg, while full-wrap chaps wrap around the lower leg to protect the rear calf region as well.

To ensure your chaps fit properly, make sure the bottom of your chaps come down to the top of your work boots.

You’ll also want to make sure that your chaps meet international safety standards. Oregon’s apron and full-wrap chainsaw chaps conform to ASTM F1897-08 and are UL classified.

If your chainsaw chaps have sustained saw damage, they should not be used again and should be replaced.

 


 

Wear the Right Logging Boots to Avoid Foot Injuries

 

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Not all logging boots are protect against chain saw cuts. Choose logging boots that have specifically been designed to protect you from chain saw injuries. Steel toe logging boots can’t be cut through and also help prevent impact injuries.

Other footwear features to look for are non-slip soles and a steel anti-penetration plate in the outsole to protect against sharp objects.

 


 

Chain Saw Gloves 

 

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Chain saw gloves should always be worn during cutting to protect you from cuts and scrapes and to prevent contact with oils and fuels.