Personal Protective Equipment & Why it’s essential when working with high powered equipment.
With Fall approaching, a lot of people are getting their chainsaws out of the shed and preparing for the season ahead. We thought this would be the ideal time to remind you of some of the safety precautions that you should be taken when operating high-powered equipment, particularly chainsaws.
It’s essential to remember that operating a chainsaw is inherently dangerous. As well as clear knowledge, understanding, and experience of how to operate the saw safely you should also be wearing high-quality personal protective equipment, so if the worse were to happen and the first line of defense fails, then the PPE can prevent serious injury and even save your life.
Just how dangerous is this line of work? Between 2021 and 2022 there were 25 fatalities associated with the Agriculture, forestry, and fishing industry in Great Britain. This was the second lowest number recorded in the last 5 years.
At Gammies, In-store we carry both Husqvarna and Stihl’s range of personal protective equipment, which range from occasional use to more heavy-duty, professional use. As well as providing safety, these pieces of equipment provide movability and ventilation to remain comfortable and not limit the user while still fully protecting them, designed with bold orange for high visibility.
Whether you work in professional forestry or occasionally get your saw out to deal with some tasks, PPE is essential when running a saw or any high-powered piece of equipment. So… what pieces of PPE are there, and how do they protect you?
The reason you see so many professionals wearing hard hats is that they work. They protect you from falling debris or branches when working on your own, or around other people working. Some hats come with a visor that also protects your whole face from debris, essential if woodchips are flying about. Although you may not think the likelihood that you get struck by something is that high, during 2021/22 being struck by an object including trees, tires and bales accounted for 5 of the 25 fatalities in the industry that year.
Undoubtedly one of the most important pieces of protective equipment you should be using whether you are using a strimmer or chainsaw alike. Any piece of high-powered machinery which involves the potential for debris to be flying about. When it comes to eyewear there isn’t any alternative, a helmet with a mesh screen won’t do the job and neither will regular glasses or sunglasses. Eye protection has saved people’s eyesight and it should be at the top of your purchase list alongside your sparkling new machine.
Hearing protection is required when the noise emitted exceeds 85dB. This means that hearing protection is typically required for a large variety of equipment including lawnmowers, brush cutters, and chainsaws. However, with the shift from petrol-powered tools to cordless, battery tools, perhaps the requirement for hearing protection is being less frequent as typically their machines emit much lower levels of noise and some don’t require any hearing protection at all, even some of the professional tools.
This is aimed directly at the chainsaw users. Although arguably the majority of chainsaw-related injuries are the result of untrained individuals attempting to do a DIY job, leg protection can still save you a nasty injury, trained or not. It is also recorded that aside from the arm and hand area, the leg area is the most common location for accident frequency related to chainsaw usage.
How does leg protection work? Let’s put it this way, they aren’t the equivalent of thick trousers. Wearing thick trousers or jeans will not give the same protection as this type of material. The trousers are designed with strong ballistic fibers which means when the chainsaw meets the outer layer, the fires are drawn in and jam the engine of the saw. Stopping it before it goes through to your leg. That does mean you then have a jammed saw, ruined trousers but intact legs and that’s all that matters. Because of this, if you cut your trousers, a replacement pair would be needed.
Many people who work in the farming or forestry industry would naturally own a pair of steel-toe boots because they know the importance of protecting your feet from anything that has the potential to fall on them. To protect your feet from injury from the boots themselves, wear them before working for long periods in them.
Although gloves are not something many people consider to be essential, they are. They have many benefits including dampening vibrations (perhaps not as necessary when it comes to cordless, battery-powered machinery which is typically associated with fewer vibrations.) to cuts from flying debris and after hearing about the accounts of finger amputations as a result of chainsaw injuries, you may be throwing them in your basket before the saw itself.
Looking after your equipment.
Dirty equipment can lead to faulty equipment. The build-up of dirt on equipment can lead to potential faults so it is essential that you keep your equipment clean and regularly wash your protective clothes.
For more information on our protective equipment range, visit us in-store or get in contact today.