Chainsaw Protective Helmets – The importance of forestry headwear

Chainsaw Protective Helmet

Chainsaws are dangerous tools, perhaps the most dangerous available on the open market. When used at height, for tree surgery and arboriculture for instance, the potential for harm becomes even greater. It’s obvious, then, that effective, reliable protective equipment is absolutely essential for chainsaw work. We’ve previously covered Chainsaw Protective Fabric and Clothing, as well as Chainsaw Protective Footwear from HAIX, and now here we’ll discuss the importance of protective headwear when operating a chainsaw.

The protective role that chainsaw PPE headwear plays can be easily overlooked, but it is a crucial piece of kit, performing a number of different roles. Specialist forestry helmets are all-in-one, with attached visors and ear defenders, too, meaning they provide excellent all-round protection.


Chainsaw Protective Helmet

Firstly, the helmet offers protection to the head against kickback. This is when the chain catches in some way, causing the saw to suddenly move up and back towards the operator. Helmets with a cut bar give some protection – a chain running at full speed can still easily cut into the helmet, but with the chain brake engaged the helmet shields the operator from potentially serious injury.

Chainsaw Protective Helmet Visor

Additionally, chainsaw headwear provides great protection for the eyes and face. The attached protective face visor guards against chips flying at high-speed towards the face. Long term damage, or even loss of vision can result from material, often shrapnel sized, rebounding back into your face or eyes. This is a common cause of injury, but even a relatively thin mesh guard does the job, since chainsaws tend to produce little or no sawdust, just wood chips that are too large to fit through the visor’s mesh.

Chainsaw Protective Helmet Arbour Headwear

For all the danger that the chainsaw itself poses, one of the forgotten hazards of tree-work is potentially being struck by a falling limb or branch, but it’s a risk that is all too real. Establishing a drop zone to keep workers out of the fall path is an effective way to reduce struck-by injuries, but wearing a helmet is by far the best means of protection, often the difference between a fatal and non-fatal injury. Branch struck-by injuries can result in a Grade III concussion, skull fracture or haemorrhage – with the vast majority of these injuries reported in workers not wearing helmets. A helmet absorbs the energy of impact by crimping the shell and stretching the interior harness, massively reducing the blow – and consequently, the chance of injury.

Chainsaw Protective Helmet Ear Defenders

While forestry headgear protects from external injury, it should also be remembered that they also guard against internal injury, too. Many tree surgeon hard hats come with ear defenders attached. This is because the noise can regularly exceed levels that are safe, with non-electric chainsaws usually 115 decibels – the recommended exposure limit is 85 db. Without taking measures to protect your ears, the intensity of noise can lead to permanent noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL). A forestry helmet that provides all-in-one protection is therefore essential.

Chainsaw Protective Helmet Replacement

Exposure to the sun causes the plastic of the chainsaw helmet to weaken over time, so it is highly recommended you replace the helmet every three to five years. There are a few different ways you can tell if your current helmet needs to be replaced. Firstly, a helmet usually has a symbol inside that shows when it was made; if it’s been more than three to five years then it’s time to replace. Many helmets also now have a sticker on the outside that fades with exposure to light; when it has faded away then the helmet should be replaced. Finally, you can try pressing the two sides of the helmet towards each other – if a there is a cracking noise, then you should replace the helmet.

Workware import and distribute specialist equipment for the UK arboriculture, forestry, horticulture and agriculture industries. You can find our full range of headwear by following this link.

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Workware – HAIX Chainsaw Protective Footwear Suppliers

Chainsaws are the number one cause of serious accidents among forestry workers – so PPE you can trust is indispensable for your daily work. We’re proud suppliers and distributors of HAIX chainsaw boots, renowned for their robust, high quality protection, rigorously tested under real-life conditions in the Bavarian Forest. HAIX have been producing high quality work boots since 1948 out of their base in the Bavarian town of Mainburg, and have earned a reputation as a market leader in cutting edge protective footwear.

HAIX Chainsaw Boots Cut Protection

Comprehensive Protection

Their chainsaw boots are fitted with an anatomically formed protective cap to ensure maximum safety, offering cut protection from class 1 to class 3 – enough to shield you against the sharp teeth of saws. A special cut inlay prevents injuries. Despite this comprehensive protection, no compromises are made in terms of comfort. A GORE-TEX membrane provides complete waterproof protection, while still allowing your feet to breathe. They also feature the patented HAIX Climate System, which uses the pumping movement generated as you move along to expel sweat in a completely natural manner, preventing overheating.

HAIX Chainsaw Boots Sole Grip

Stable and Robust Sole

As well as balancing external protective and waterproof features with internal breathability and comfort, all HAIX chainsaw boots feature a stable and robust rubber sole that provides both great stability and comfort. The dynamic toe-to-heel movement and cushioning effect they provide guarantees excellent impact absorption and comfort, while they are also anti-slip and abrasion proof, with a rugged profile. These soles are also resistant against heat, oil and petrol.

HAIX Chainsaw Boots Protector Alpin

The Ultimate in Chainsaw Protective Footwear

We’re pleased to now supply the HAIX Protector Alpin boot, the ultimate in terms of chainsaw protective footwear. The Protector Alpin offers class 3 cut protection and will shield you in any situation. Taking inspiration from nature itself, its slip resistant sole features an integrated claw element in the bridge, which prevents slipping off to the side when moving over branches and twigs – this also significantly reduces the risk of slipping on dead and waste timber, or on wet surfaces and tree trunks. Spikes attached to the outsole ensure a good lateral grip on tree trunks when carrying out felling work. Like all other HAIX chainsaw boots, the Protector Alpin has PU impact absorption to cushion your steps, is completely waterproof and breathable, and has HAIX Climate System to transfer warm, moist air outwards.

Workware import and distribute specialist equipment for the UK arboriculture, forestry, horticulture and agricultural industries. You can find our full range of HAIX chainsaw protective boots here. To find your nearest Workware supplier follow this link and enter your postcode.

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Chainsaw Protective Clothing – Everything you need to know

Chainsaw Clothing

Chainsaw Clothing

For arborists and other trades, the chainsaw is one of the most indispensable tools of modern tree work. It goes without saying that it is also one of the most dangerous. Lacerations caused by chainsaw accidents are often deep and multiple, and can result in severe life changing injuries, such as amputations, severed tendons and nerves, and partial paralysis.

When operating a chainsaw, it’s therefore necessary to take certain precautions to protect your safety and wellbeing. Making sure you have the proper protective clothing is one of the most important. Protective clothing helps prevent accidents from causing serious harm and comes in several forms, from chainsaw boots and helmets, to safety glasses or visors – as well as trousers, jackets and gloves made from protective fabric.

Chainsaw Protective Fabric

SIP Protection chainsaw clothing

Conventional fabric offers no protection whatsoever against a running chainsaw, which will cut through the fabric immediately, so special fabrics have been – and continue to be – developed for chainsaw clothing.

This protective fabric must work on a number of principles, balancing protective qualities with breathability, comfort and flexibility. Clothes that prevent the user from moving easily, or are too hot, present a safety issue in themselves, even if they offer comprehensive protection from the saw itself. Heat stress caused by overly warm clothing can be dangerous, and lead to an inability to concentrate and muscle cramps – not a great combination for handling a chainsaw – as well as heat exhaustion and heat stroke.

Striking this balance therefore comes down to the job at hand, and the equipment being used. A numerical classification scheme has been developed in the EU to rate fabric for protection against cutting, relating to the chain speed of the chainsaw and what it can protect from:

0 16 metres per second (36 mph) (3150 feet per minute)
1 20 metres per second (45 mph) (3937 feet per minute)
2 24 metres per second (54 mph) (4724 feet per minute)
3 28 metres per second (63 mph) (5512 feet per minute)

This chain speed is specified in the manual for a chainsaw.

So how does chainsaw protective fabric actually work? Well, primarily through layers – the outermost layer can be made tough and slippery to protect against minor damage, while beneath this, layers of long, loose fibres are laid. When the saw makes contact with the fabric, it immediately cuts through the outer layer, but this draws the inner layer out, which wraps around the saw’s drive socket, locking it solid and halting the chain, limiting the damage to the wearer.

Chainsaw Protective Clothing

The way the fabric works is consistent in all forms of protective clothing, however the way it is used varies based on the item of clothing and the needs of the wearer.

Chainsaw Protective Clothing Jacket

Protective jackets offer great all-over protection for the arms and torso, though users should be wary of heat stress as they are highly insulating. New technologies are being developed all the time, however, meaning the new breed of jackets can be much more lightweight, comfortable and ventilated. The 1SI5 Chainsaw Jacket, for instance, benefits from new technologies that allow it to be thinner and way more comfortable than previous jackets, while still offering the same level of protection.

SIP protection chainsaw gloves

Gloves, on the other hand, differ because they need to allow flexibility and as much grip as possible in order for the wearer to safely operate the chainsaw. Typically, most chainsaw injuries to the hand occur on the back of the left hand, so protective fabric is placed on the back of the left glove, but elsewhere is generally less padded, as extra unnecessary padding can impact grip and flexibility. As developments continue to be made, though, more protective fabric can be added without compromising on grip and dexterity. The 2SA5 Anti-Slip Chainsaw Gloves offer anti-cut protection in both hands, for instance, while still providing anti-slip grip for easy chainsaw operation.Chainsaw Protective Clothing TrousersTrousers come in two standard forms: Type A, which protects only the front of the legs, and Type C, which gives protection all-round the legs. Climbers and tree surgeons, who will be cutting from a wider variety of positions, would require the all-round protection of Type C. Like chainsaw jackets, Type C trousers are highly insulating, and could cause heat stress if worn for labour intensive work, so for comfort and ease of movement, arborists, ground workers or firewood cutters would generally opt for Type A trousers, due to the low risk of being cut in the back of the leg. The brand new Canopy W-Air Type A Chainsaw Trouser (product code 1SBC) is specifically designed for arborists, combining lightweight comfort and excellent ventilation with protection that meets European safety standards.

SIP Protection Grizzly Chainsaw boots

Chainsaw boots protect the operator from front cuts, and, to a certain extent, sideways cuts. Based on steel-toe boots, they have additional layers of chainsaw protective fabric on the exposed front surfaces, offering protection from the saw in areas where accidents are most likely to occur. They also provide extremely good sole grip, which is essential when operating a chainsaw, as any accidental slips could be very dangerous. The new Class 2 3SIC Grizzly Chainsaw Boots from SIP Protection exemplify this – they have an all-terrain sole that assures grip on unstable and heavy grounds, wet or dry, with extremely robust fabrics that provide great protection.

Workware import and distribute specialist equipment for the UK arboriculture, forestry, horticulture and agricultural industries. You can find our full range of chainsaw protective clothing by following this link. 

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