Today, we will be looking at some chainsaw PPE safety equipment.
In short, Personal Protective Equipment items are highly recommended to wear when operating your chainsaw. These items are there to make sure using your chainsaw is enjoyable and safer at the same time.
The article also highlights some different safety features incorporated in chainsaws. So, knowing about these will certainly help you to check and inspect their functionality before every usage to avoid eventual accidents.
Related: How to choose your chainsaw
Chainsaw PP Safety Equipment
Any item of chainsaw PPE grants you an added level of protection and it is not advisable to operate your chainsaw without them.
Have a look at your must-have chainsaw safety equipment:
Ear & Head Protection
The first piece of PPE kit is a helmet and ear muffs. Professional arborists wear helmets and ear muffs, but as a homeowner, feel free to wear earplugs.
They protect your ears from damaging noise generated by chainsaws and allow you to stay concentrated and comfortable doing the job.
One important thing about the hard hat is that it saves your life because if you have to cut dead firewood for example and you’re wedging that over, a limb could come out and at 100 feet, basically this would drive you in the ground.
A chainsaw is moving woodchips around at a tremendous speed, which is to say you must wear eye protection if you value your eyesight. We’d hate for you to get a piece of sawdust in your eyeball.
Chainsaw Chaps protect your legs. Honestly, they are the least expensive insurance policy that you will ever buy.
They’re filled with a Kevlar-like material and your saw can cut through these. The idea is that they will stop the teeth and the chain as it’s moving around.
Today, chainsaw pants are even longer, they are basically just like a set of an apron, and they go all the way down to the ankle.
They actually have reflective and basically glow in the dark so that when you’re working in the woods, someone out there can actually see you.
Here’s a full article on how chainsaw chaps work.
When operating a chainsaw, you have to make sure that you’re at the top of your game.
You want to be well-rested, alert, and you want to have the physical conditioning to be able to operate a saw.
Starting your saw is now the next big step. And, actually, before you do that, you should wear gloves.
Gloves are an added chainsaw protective gear because when you’re running a saw, your hands get sweaty and they get slippery. A thin pair of leather gloves keeps a good firm grip.
The last piece of PPE kit is a pair of heavy-duty chainsaw boots. They are made from cut-resistant materials and layers of chainsaw fabrics that protect your feet from having crashed toes because of falling pieces of wood and hard materials.
All of these chainsaw PPE safety requirements grant you an added level of protection and reduce the risk of injury and even death.
They are of a tremendous utility and it would be foolish to operate your chainsaw without having them on. Just remember, using your chainsaw is great but making it enjoyable and safer is even better.
As a chainsaw operator, you need to know your chainsaw features so as to minimize accidents related to the use of this tool.
There are basic chainsaw safety gear kit you need to look at before ever deciding to buy a chainsaw
When the tip of the chainsaw touches something while sawing, chains have the tendency to bounce off, or what is called kickback.
A kickback occurs when you hit the tip of the bar of your chainsaw with a hard object. Because the engine runs at an incredibly high speed, this often results in horrific injuries to your face or shoulder.
The chain break was invented so that when the chainsaw kicks back, your hand hits that lever and stops the chainsaw in a fraction of a second.
Another feature is the handle break which basically runs the saw and depresses the throttle.
So, if you grab it, you can depress that and run the accelerator and run the saw. If the saw knocks off the operator’s hand, it automatically comes off and it cannot accelerate any further.
With the old saws, your knuckles would just get so sore because they had just solid mounts handlebars.
Modern chainsaws come with anti-vibration rubber mounts which reduce the transmission of vibrations resulting from the use of your chainsaw.
Therefore, you can run them all day long and your hands will be just fine.
Another feature we want to mention quickly is that chainsaws fatigue over time, especially if they’re dull.
They overheat and may even break. When a chain breaks, it has a lot of momentum. It can wrap itself around you and your hands.
There is a little tensioning device which you turn which actually moves a little stud in the bar and that stud fits into a little hole on the bar.
The ideal tensioning on a cold chain is to lift it up and just be able to slip a dime underneath the guides.
To check your tension, take the back of your bar tool, put it on the back of the teeth, and push forward.
Go behind it, and it should be just nice and smooth. Double check it before use.
The other thing you want to watch for, especially in dirty very powdery wood, is the air cleaner. It’s no different than your car or truck.
You always have to check your air filter, which is usually somewhere on the back. Two screws, quick turn, and off they come.
Some people carry a little brush and they can just brush it off. Pop it back on. It’s about a 10-second procedure, but it makes a big difference on how well your saw runs.
How To Start A Chainsaw Properly
The preferred method is to put the saw on the ground, put your foot into the rear grip, and get on one knee.
Have a firm grip with your left hand on the front handle and pull the bar. This way, when the saw starts, it is anchored and it can’t move anyplace.
Then, the chain brake should be on.
So, at this point, your saw is running. You have the chain brake on and you’re going to leave it on and move to where you’re going to cut.
Try to position yourself so that you have a good firm stance.
Now, when you take the chain brake off, you can start sawing.
When you’re done sawing, put the chain brake on to turn it off, and then move the choke all the way up.
The second way to start a saw is called the “crotch method“.
This is the same process except for rather than putting the saw on the ground, you start with the choke again until the choke pops, move it up, position it, but anchor the back of the saw between your knees,
Then, grip it with your knees and hold it tight.
This is how you make sure the saw wouldn’t move anywhere.
Make sure the chain brake is on and you are ready to saw.
How To Turn Off A Chainsaw
Always, you need to make sure that your chainsaw is either pinned to the ground or firmly anchored.
Once you have familiarized yourself with your saw, the safety features, how to start it, and how to turn it off, the best thing you can do is practice with your saw in a controlled situation.
Just like any other tool, before you’re in an environment where conditions might be less than ideal for cutting, you want to be familiar with how your saw cuts, how you can use it, and how comfortable you are operating it.
So, whether it’s a little saw or a bigger saw, it doesn’t matter much. Practice is all it takes. A lot of times, people just go down and buy a chainsaw, but they really don’t get a lot of training.
So hopefully, we were able to explain all of the safety aspects of chainsaws and how dangerous they are.
Bear in mind, if used properly, chainsaws are not that dangerous. Just make sure you don’t let your guard down.
In summary, we’ve covered the chainsaw PPE safety features and recommended equipment for chainsaw users as well as some basic components, the safety features, and how to start this powerful engine.
With that being said, this guide should not at any means be considered an official training on how to use a chainsaw.
The best way to learn how to use a chainsaw is under the tutelage of a chainsaw pro who can guide you through the process, evaluate how you’re doing it, and give you feedback.
That’s the way professional loggers do it because supervised training is the key element to increased security.
So, there you have it. Those were some of the most important chainsaw PPE safety features. Feel free to leave a comment below.
Last but not least, this is an interesting fact sheet by Ohsa known as “Chainsaw PPE Osha”