As an arborist, one of the most dangerous tools you have in your kit is also the most necessary. That's right, it's the chainsaw. Chainsaws present a certain level of risk, no matter how experienced you are with one. As such, personal protective equipment, or PPE, is a must. One of the best ways to protect yourself is by using chainsaw chaps.
Most chainsaw injuries occur in the lower legs. In most cases, a chainsaw slips or is dropped onto the leg, causing massive injury. Chainsaw chaps protect your legs, helping prevent any large scale injuries from occurring. If you're looking for new leg protection, learn a bit more about chainsaw chaps below.
A Little Bit About Chainsaw Chaps
Chainsaw chaps are your legs' best protection from a chainsaw, hands down. The best chainsaw chaps provide both leg protection and comfort. They allow chainsaw operators to stay cool, while also keeping their precious lower limbs protected. How do they do that, though? It all comes down to how they're made, and how they stop a chainsaw.
What Are Chainsaw Chaps Made From?
Most chainsaw chaps are made from similar materials, regardless of the manufacturer. They have multiple layers. The first is a tough outer layer, normally of polyester denier. This material endures cuts and punctures from accidental contact, and has a PVC or urethane coating. The coating makes them oil resistant and water resistant. These are great features when it comes to the maintenance of your pants.
If the chainsaw punctures the first later, a second layer is present as well. The second layer of the chainsaw chaps is made from ballistic nylon or Kevlar. When these are reached by the chainsaw, they come apart in individual fibers that clog it. Then, for extra protection, there is a third layer underneath that prevents the chain from reaching the operator.
Two Types of Chainsaw Chaps
When you go to purchase a pair of chainsaw chaps, you'll have two different options to choose from. The form of chainsaw protective equipment comes down to preference.
- Type A: These are apron-style chaps. They only protect the front of the legs, and are worn over pants. These are suitable for ground work, in most cases.
- Type C: These are also known as chainsaw pants, or chainsaw trousers. They are worn like regular pants, and are best for any elevated work with a chainsaw that could result in serious injury.
When you're considering buying a pair of apron-style chaps, or a pair of chainsaw pants, keep the following things in mind:
- Chainsaw chaps often feature an adjustable waist, allowing multiple chainsaw operators to use the same pair.
- When it comes to full leg coverage, chainsaw pants will offer full protection of the legs.Some jobs, like the ones that are suspended, require this extra protection.
- Most chaps will come in a broad range of sizes, so you should always be able to find something that works for you.
OSHA Safety Standards in Chainsaw Chaps
Chainsaw chaps come with a safety rating that is regulated by OSHA safety standards. The OSHA regulations ensure that the rating received by the safety equipment is tested and true. Chaps feature a rating from 0 to 3. Each rating represents the following information:
- Rating 0: Provides protection from chainsaws up to 16 meters per second, the lightest chap
- Rating 1: Provides protection from chainsaws up to 20 meters per second, a mid-weight chap
- Rating 2: Provides protection from chainsaws up to 24 meters per second, a heavy chap
- Rating 3: Provides protection from chainsaws up to 28 meters per second, the heaviest chap
It is important to remember that these chaps are not designed for work with electric chainsaws. These pants are designed to break apart and clog a running saw internally, disrupting the drive sprocket. As such, they don't work with electric chainsaws at all.
Choosing the Best Chainsaw Chaps or Chainsaw Pants For You
When you're looking for a chainsaw chap, it's important to find the one that's going to work best for you. Many of them are going to come with great features. Before buying your next pair of chainsaw protective chaps or trousers, keep these things in mind:
- Fit: You have to make sure that the chaps fit. Many of them come with adjustable belts or waist sizes. Overall length needs to be taken into account as well. Know your waist and leg length to ensure a perfect fit!
- Rating: Durable chaps are a must for chainsaw safety. Make sure that you choose the appropriate rating for the work that you'll be doing, or get a higher rating.
- Maintenance: If you'll be using your chaps often, think about getting a pair that's machine washable. If not, a pair that can be hand washed should be fine.
- Features: Some chaps come with extra features, like a gear pocket. If you think you need that in your chainsaw chaps, grab a pair!
Stay Protected With Chainsaw Chaps
These are one of the most essential pieces of safety equipment in your kit. They offer leg protection that can't be provided from any other piece of clothing that you have. If you plan on working with a chainsaw, then it's important to have the best chainsaw chaps, or chainsaw trousers, that you can buy. These will provide safety and help you get the job done.