There is a lot of confusion about the chainsaw protection standards and how they vary around the world.
Type C, Class 1, chainsaw fabric layers, chainspeed, test methods ….
Understanding the global chainsaw protection standards is becoming increasingly important as arborists explore work opportunities in different countries and as arborist retailers start shipping outside their home country.
We thought that it was time to put a comprehensive guide to chainsaw protection standards together.
No one likes making mistakes and when it comes to caring for, choosing or wearing your chainsaw protection, that is no exception. Making any mistake can leave room for error and given chainsaw chaps and pants have the potential to save your life – it is important you get it right.
For those operating in the professional tree care industry – whether you are a seasoned arborist, experienced groundie or in charge of procuring safety for your crew, you will no doubt be familiar with chainsaw protection. In this post we will provide 18 examples of common mistakes that can occur when choosing, using and caring for chainsaw chaps and pants and some tips on how you can avoid making these mistakes.
Why is chainsaw protection important?
A chainsaw operator has three lines of defence: education, good technique, and personal protective equipment (PPE). When the first two fail, PPE can save your life.
The thought of chainsaw injuries resulting in death is very confronting. In 2012, 243 workers died while engaging in tree-trimming and clearing activities (OSHA, 2012). The impact chainsaw injuries can have on a business is huge. Not only can it look unprofessional, but there is also lost income and it can hinder ability to carry out future jobs efficiently. In most instances, serious injury or fatality as a result of a chainsaw can all be prevented with the use of PPE. So, what are the 18 Top Mistakes with Choosing, Using and Caring for Chainsaw Chaps and Pants?
Firstly, the one used by British Columbia, WCB Standard PPE 1-1997 Leg Protective Devices. This was later called the WorkSafeBC Standard – Leg Protective Devices, and was included as Schedule 8.21 in their OHSR regulations.
In October 2010, WorkSafe issued an “Explanatory Note” advising that the testing facility for testing to this standard had closed and that other international standards should be recognised. One such standard is ASTM F1897. However, rather than adopt its criteria for cut-resistance of 2750 ft/min, WorkSafeBC specified a chainspeed of 3300 ft/min as being more appropriate for worker safety. This remains the current standard for British Columbia (18 December 2020).
The one used by the rest of Canada was CAN/BNQ 1923 issued by the Bureau de Normalisation du Quebec in 1991. Although this standard was withdrawn some years ago, it continued to be the accepted standard for chainsaw protective clothing and could be tested against by Underwriters Laboratory. This standard and its replacement is the focus of this post.