Pruning and trimming trees is not as simple as snipping shrubs or levelling hedges. Trees need more attention to maintain, and things like branches, falling dirt and debris pose a hazard to gardeners that try to cut them down. Safety is essential while working on trees, especially if you’re using pole saws. For most homeowners, pole saws are the tool of choice to keep unruly plants in check. However, pole saws are not toys. They can cause injuries at any time without warning. That is why you need Safety Clothing and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE); to reduce risks of injuries and accidents during work.
Most accidents in the field occur simply because operators fail to wear the required personal protective equipment. At a minimum, get yourself a hard hat, a pair of goggles with full coverage and a pair of non-slip work gloves. To save yourself a day in the hospital and a visit to your doctor, it is vital that you fully armor yourself before going out to operate the pole saw. What are some of the PPE one needs to have? Well, let’s take a look!
- 5 in 1 safety helmet comes with helmet, adjustable/removable earmuffs, plastic visor, and mesh visor, providing dynamic protection for any job
- Provides the protection you need when using chainsaws, brush cutters, and trimmers, ideal for forestry type work
- Secures firmly on head and convenient dial knob makes it easy to adjust the circumference 20 - 24.5 inches (52-62 centimeters)
- Lightweight, interchangeable mesh and plastic visors provide shielding from debris
- All parts are ANSI and CE approved - Helmet carries a Z89.1-2003 ANSI rating
Should a kickback occur or a branch fall off a tree, the helmet will be there to save the day. The hard hat worn on your head is one of the most important equipment that any gardener should possess. Protection by the helmet, however, will only be successful if the chain brake is in place to stop the saw. Otherwise, at full speed it could easily cut through the helmet into your skull; something no one would wish to undergo!
The helmet together with its eye protection guard is also used to protect users against miniature flying objects such as twigs and branches.
Heat from the sun causes the plastic of the helmet to weaken with time. It is therefore recommended that you replace a helmet after 3-5 years. How can you know when it is time to replace your helmet? You may ask. Here’s how; helmets normally come with symbols inside showing their manufacturing dates. Recent models come with a sticker on the outside. With time, they fade, and this is a clear indication that they need to be changed. Another method of determining whether a helmet should be replaced is by pressing its sides towards each other. If a cracking sound is heard, then it’s time for a replacement. The CSA-approved hard hat should be of a bright color that is easily visible.
Goggles and Visors
- Stealth OTG (Over-the-Glass) design fits comfortably over prescription eyewear; protects against impacts, dust, airborne particles and chemical splashes
- High-performance Dura-Streme dual anti-fog/anti-scratch coating ensures clear vision in any work environment; clear lens is well-suited to most indoor work environments
- Soft, elastomer body flexes and conforms to the face for a secure, comfortable, gap-free fit; pivoting, quick-adjust headband provides easy adjustment for a comfortable fit
- Easy and economical snap-on lens replacement with multiple tints available; fits comfortably over most prescription eyewear
- Meets ANSI Z87+ and CSA Z94.3; made in the U.S.A.
The goggles’ purpose is presumably conversant to many; preventing foreign and harmful bodies from penetrating into the users’ eyes. The visor is delicate and should have extensive coverage of the face and eyes particularly. It’s made this way so it doesn’t take a chance with the relatively small and fast flying wood chips. Unlike other wood tools, chainsaws do not produce sawdust, and if present, then very seldom. Only chips that are large and unable to fit through the mesh are produced. Convenient for the users, right?
Pole saw users vary on their preferences when it comes to making a choice between goggles and visors. The choice is usually dependent on the working environment. When it comes to ventilation, the visor is a better alternative. Goggles, on the other hand, don’t take chances with chips and fully cover the eyes. Safety first!
The chainsaw safety mitt is made of leather and customarily fitted to the front bar though it is usually free to rotate. Its primary purpose is to ensure that in case a kickback occurs, the user’s hand securely remains on the bar of the pole saw. This makes the kickback more controllable, with the chain brake effortlessly engaging. The safety mitt also protects the left hand in case the chain derails jumping to the front. Safety mitts have a protection class ranging between 16-20 m/s chain speed.
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- Comfort Cushion Insole with Removable Option Slip Resistant Rubber Outsole
- Convenient Speedy Hooks and Back Loop for Easy Wearing
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The chainsaw boots come at a similar design with the reinforced steel-toed boots, but with multiple layers of protective fabric on the front exposed area. They are available in both laced-up leather and rubber wellington versions, all dependent on the users’ tastes. The purpose of the boots is no rocket science. It is used to protect the users against the front and sideways cuts. It also prevents them from stepping on sharp wooden objects that may be lying around.
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Statistics have shown that most chainsaw injuries occurring to the hand, take place on the back of the left hand. For this reason, the chainsaw gloves are equipped with cut-proof fabric protection at this specific area. The gloves are flexible, an important feature, and this is made possible by limiting the amount of padding they possess. They are made of leather which protects the user from cuts while sharpening the saw. They also provide a good grip and absorb much of the vibration while working.
36 percent of chainsaw injuries occur to the legs and knees. This statistic is enough to tell you how vital pole saws trousers are. Trousers worn during pole saw work are not ordinary trousers. They come in special fabrics to endure the hard work (though developments are still ongoing). The conventional fabric is of no help when dealing with a running saw, something more durable is required. Designers are working on creating a product that is light, violent-resistant, flexible and comfortable. Your preferred trousers shouldn’t make you feel too hot or limit your movements. This might be dangerous.
It would be non-factual and impractical to mention that there is a perfect clothing that is fully resistant to pole saw cuts. What happens is that fabric layers are added to the clothes to make them more resilient. The chainsaw fabrics are classified under four different classes: class 0 having 16 m/s chain speed, class 1, having 20 m/s chain speed, class 2, having 24 m/s chain speed and class 3, having 28 m/s chain speed. The qualities of the fabrics improve with the classes, and so does their prices.
The trousers will degrade with time due to frequent washing. They, therefore, ought to be replaced. They should also not be washed in hot water frequently as this catalyzes their wearing out. Users must ensure that their trousers are free from tears and rips that may catch on a live pole saw.
Pole saws, especially the gas-powered ones make a lot of noise when in use. For this reason, ear protection is necessary. That is precisely what the ear defenders are for. If you thought this was the only function of the ear defenders, think twice. Ear defenders and earplugs also protect the user from small foreign bodies that may enter the ears causing damage. The ear is a vital human organ, and it would be pretty devastating for it to get damaged because of pure ignorance.
Just like any other machine operator, a chainsaw operator must equip himself fully before going out to work. Besides assembling all the required tools, you also need to dress adequately for the job. Some of the protective gear might seem unnecessary, but evidently, even the littlest detail is important. Make sure you are flexible and comfortable in your outfit; avoid donning jewelry and loose-fitting clothing. Your health comes first, stay safe!