The Complexities Of Chainsaw Safety Clothing

In the field of trade workwear, one of the most complex challenges for clothing manufacturers is balancing the two diametrically opposed needs for workers using chainsaws as part of their work, especially those working in forestry or arboriculture.

The first need is to protect the user and non-chainsaw users who are near the chainsaw user from the potential risk of major injury or death that can be caused by a chainsaw, but at the same time, also needs to be flexible enough to enable working off the ground and also breathable.

The reason for this is that chainsaws generate a lot of heat, and in combination with many forestry jobs taking place in the summer months leads to the risk of heat syncope, heat stress and even heat stroke.

Because of this, the Health and Safety Executive’s PPE recommendations factor in the complex trade-off between ensuring workers do not get ill and ensuring they avoid serious injury.

Leg protection, for example, is measured according to the BS EN 381-5 by both a class standard and a type standard.

There are four classes that rate chainsaw-resistant clothing based on the chain speed of the machine, ranging from 20 metres per second for Class 1 (45mph), to 28 metres per second for Class 3 (63mph).

This does not guarantee 100 per cent safety but reduces the probability and the potential level of harm caused.

As well as this, leg protection comes in two types as well:

Type A covers only the front of the legs, is designed for use on the ground only by professional lumberjacks and forestry workers, as they provide more comfort and ease of movement but at the cost of a lack of side and rear protection.

Type B is used by tree surgeons who work at height, as well as trainees and provide all-around protection, although they also provide a level of insulation that can be uncomfortable in warm weather.