Woodchippers: safety, tips & considerations.
It’s wood-chipping season. Although woodchippers are generally used all year round they become more popular at this time of the year when more branches are falling, and areas are needing clearing of debris from storms and adverse weather.
This week’s blog post will be dedicated to everything woodchipper and can hopefully give a few tips to new users.
Safety while using a woodchipper.
Starting with the most important topic, safety. Like any other high-powered machine with rotating blades, woodchippers are dangerous machines and when working with them care and safety measures should be taken. As well as using common sense, acting carefully and safely to avoid injury such as always operating with two people or more, safely checking the machine before use alongside the material going into the machine, adequate safety equipment should also be worn.
Personal Protective Equipment.
Appropriate safety equipment to be worn while operating a woodchipper includes:
- Safety glasses/goggles to avoid any flying debris as well as to protect your eyes from dust
- Ear protection, these machines are loud and so to protect your hearing long-term good ear protection should be worn while in use. If you still want to communicate with your team, you get hearing protection with in-built radio.
- Helmet. Debris may be flying at unknown angles, prepare for the worst and ensure you have head protection on.
- Gloves. More for holding the material itself. Avoid damaging your hands, and make your job easier by wearing thick gloves.
- Steel toes boots. When working anywhere outdoors these are often the go-to for protection, you just never know what you might drop on your foot.
Sourcing a woodchipper, buying or hiring?
When considering if you should buy or hire a woodchipper there are a few considerations you need to make.
How often are you planning on using this machine? Of course, if it’s just a one-time application, such as clearing a private area then hiring is the obvious choice. However, if you are only going to be using this machine a few times a year, then hiring the machine may also be the most appropriate choice for you.
As well as how often, what you are planning on feeding the chipper also comes into it, this will determine what size and power you might require. When purchasing, you would need to ensure you have a machine capable of completing any task you might be looking to achieve. Whereas you can just hire a machine capable of the task at hand and upgrade when required.
These machines aren’t small, and they cannot be simply folded away. They also need to be stored in a safe and dry place to avoid damage.
To ensure that your machine last’s and has a long life, then regular servicing and maintenance is required to ensure it is working effectively. As well as this, damaged teeth are often a regular occurrence when you are consistently using the machine or if hard debris gets passed through.
Although some chippers are towed, others are tracked. These are ideal for when you are going into remote locations but they also required a trailer to transport them to the work site. If you have your own transport then that’s ideal both for purchase and hire, however, if you don’t then hire can also provide a collection and delivery service for an additional fee.
Using a chipper safely.
Although it’s straightforward to use a chipper, there are a few things you should remember.
- Ensure that the chipper is in a stable position, ground level for your safety and to prevent any movement during operation.
- A pretty obvious one is to ensure the chute is positioned away from you and in a safe position, preferably downwind.
- Ensure that your pile has nothing dangerous in it, check for materials such as rocks that may damage the machine and pose a safety risk.
- As you feed the machine remember to stay a safe distance away as debris may be ejected from the hopper.
What to do with the woodchips?
Once you have all your chippings what do you do with them? Perhaps you have just cleared an area in your garden and are wondering what to do with this pile of chippings now. There are a lot of uses for wood chippings. So much so, that people will buy bags of chippings for these purposes.
Around your plants
Sprinkling the chipping around your plants in place of mulch provides an abundance of nutrition as the chips decompose as well as helps absorb moisture, provide shade, and prevent weeds. There are of course downsides to this.
Paths & Walkways.
As an alternative to stone, this is where people often spend a fortune on buying bags of wood chippings to create paths, prevent weeds from growing on walkways as well as stop muddy areas from forming.
To read more about the use of wood chippings read this article from Forest Master.
At Gammies, we provide woodchippers available for both purchase and Hire.