Safety Clothing To Wear When Operating A Chainsaw

When using a chainsaw, you should always wear protective clothing, or as OSHA refers to it as Personal Protective Equipment or PPE.

Worldwide, there has been a general agreement as to what is suitable clothing that should be worn when operating a chainsaw. The following has been viewed as acceptable safety clothing:

Safety Helmet/ Hard Hat:

You’re favorite ball cap will not protect your head if you are struck by the force of the guard bar if kickback occurs. Your head protection gear should be strong enough to withstand the force of impact with the guide bar especially on a battery chainsaw, should a kickback occur. Therefore, you should wear hardhat that has been approved by OSHA for use with a chainsaw. The safety hard hat should also protect against small falling branches and limbs. According to OSHA, hard hats and safety helmets should be replaced immediately once they become cracked or discolored. It has been proven that when the chain brake has been disabled, a saw chain running at full throttle can cut through a hard hat.

Protective Eyewear:

Sunglasses are NOT acceptable protective eyewear. When operating a chainsaw you should wear safety visors, goggles, or eyeglasses that have side shields to protect your eyes from wood chips, sawdust, or twigs. However, many chainsaw operators in the logging industry prefer the use of conventional safety goggles in cooler weather and safety visor during hotter weather because the visor provides more ventilation.

Ear defenders/ Ear Plugs/ muffs:

Chainsaws are very loud pieces of equipment, which generate a noise level of approximately 115 decibels (dB). Therefore, to protect your hearing, you should wear a pair of ear defenders, earplugs, or muffs, which will ease the noise levels so that it will cause little to no damage to your hearing. Protective hearing-wear such as ear defenders, muffs and ear plugs should all have a decibel noise reduction rating, the higher the rating is the more protection that item provides. Several companies, which specialize in personal protective equipment often, offer complete sets that include hardhat, earmuffs, and protective eyewear usually at a very reasonable price.


Because the majority of all chainsaw hand injuries occur to the back of the left hand, safety gloves specially designed for chainsaw use, the back of the left hand have the same strong cut-resistant fabric that safety pants, chaps and trousers do. When purchasing safety gloves, it is important that the gloves chosen are flexible, yet still provide protection. For those individuals who are left-handed, there are also specially designed safety gloves.

Trousers/ chaps/ safety pants

Over the years, special fabrics have been developed for chainsaw clothing, and are still being improved upon and development even now. Conventional fabrics such as denim, provide little protection against a running chainsaw running at top speed from cut through to the user’s leg. The problem is creating a fabric that is lightweight so that the worker does not suffer from heat exhaustion and a fabric that is tough enough to withstand a chainsaw attack. Manufactures of chainsaws continue to chainsaws to the point that newer chainsaws can run at speeds of 45 to 55 miles per hour. Unfortunately, safety chaps, pants, and trousers do not provide a fail-safe, when working with a chainsaw, no safety gear does. What safety trousers, chaps, and pants do is increase the operator’s ability to sustain a chainsaw attack with minimal injury to the area where the chainsaw cuts occur.

OSHA does have guidelines for protective clothing for chainsaw operators. Safety chaps, leggings, pants, and trousers should cover the area from the groin area to approximately 2 inches above the ankles. Chaps and leggings must wrap around the leg and provide protection also to the calf area. Safety chaps, pants, and leggings are made from several layers of synthetic fabrics. The top layer is usually slippery and tough, with the goal that the chainsaw will skim over the fabric, instead of cutting through the fabric. The bottom or lower layer of fabric should be able to absorb the power of the chainsaw power. The third layer of defense, are long fibers of Kevlar. If the chainsaw cutting through the first layer of protective fabric, Kevlar threads will be pulled out by the running chainsaw, and into the chainsaw’s drive sprocket, where the Kevlar fibers jam the drive sprocket causing the chainsaw to stall. Once the Kevlar has been pulled into the chainsaw, the saw will have to be taken apart and cleaned out before it will function. These safety pants, leggings, and chaps meet the UL Classification and APA Class A standards plus all OSHA Logging Operations requirements.

Protective Boots/ Footwear:

Protective chainsaw boots look similar to ordinary steel-toe boots, and have nonskid soles. However, they have several layers of the same protective fabric that is used on chainsaw pants, chaps and gloves on the exposed front surfaces of the boot. These boots have high tops and provide protection to your ankles in they accidentally come into contact with the moving chainsaw. Regular steel toe shoes only protect your feet from injury, which occurs from falling objects, but offer limited protection against accidental contact with a moving chain, therefore you should invest in chainsaw protective boots.

Additional Personal Protective Equipment

Whether you are cutting wood in the forest, or simply cutting wood in your backyard, in addition to wearing protective clothing, head gear, protective ear and eyewear, you should also have a first aid kit, cell phone or communication device of some sort. Your first aid kit must contain at least a large wound dressing.

Safety Clothing To Wear When Operating A Chainsaw Safety Clothing To Wear When Operating A Chainsaw Reviewed by Maria Bradley on 5:02:00 PM Rating: 5

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