Breaking Bad Habits with Chainsaws Part 2
What's so wrong about a bad habit? Well in the tree care industry, bad habits can lead to complacency, which itself turns into accidents. Previously we talked about operating a chainsaw with one hand. That's not the only bad habit I've noticed with chainsaws. The other bad habit is: not wearing chaps or PPE when operating a chainsaw.
This is one of the most common bad habits I see in the tree care industry. However, it does seem that this particular habit has recently been the subject of talks in the arborist community, and people seem more aware of the problem than in years past.
At the beginning of my career, I hardly ever wore chainsaw protection. We had protective equipment available to our crew, but we would cut without it when nobody was supervising us. We were naïve enough to consider it an inconvenience.
That's the danger. Complacency leads to accidents. For me, it was catching myself on the knee with my chainsaw. After that I went from breaking the law to wearing chainsaw pants on every cut!
Chaps vs Chainsaw Pants
Today, there are plenty of options to choose from when it comes to chainsaw protection. The most basic option is a pair of chaps. Chaps are quick and easy to put on, and even easier to take off! They come in various styles like wrap arounds and aprons, and can fasten with buckles, Velcro, or with a buckle and zipper calf wrap option.
An important piece of advice for wearing chaps is make sure they fit correctly! Make sure they fully covers your ankles. If they don’t, doesn’t that slightly defeat the purpose? You’re leaving your ankles exposed at that point. Another consideration is the how the chaps fasten close. Please make sure all the buckles are fastened and tight. Just because you quickly threw on your chaps doesn’t mean they will stop a saw if they’re not adjusted correctly! If a moving saw does catch your chaps and yours buckles are loose, it’s going to pull the chap aside and cut you like you owe it money!
If you’re like me, you absolutely DETEST wearing chaps. Luckily there are chainsaw pants for people like us! For me, I like climbing in chainsaw pants and knowing that if I do potentially slip with a saw, I have protection.
I own several different chainsaw pants but my favorite are easily my Clogger Zero Chainsaw Pants. Before I bought these, I figured these were all hype. I decided to give them a shot and they did not disappoint at all! When they say lightweight, cool and durable, they’re not lying! A big misconception is that because chainsaw pants can be lighter, it means they don’t have the same protection. That is not the case. These pants are tough! The mesh vents on the side allow for excellent airflow and having five pockets gives you plenty of storage for your personal items. Can't find the 5th pocket? It's hidden underneath the Clogger logo! I had my Clogger Zeros for a hot minute before I found that one.
Clogger Zeros really shine during the spring, fall and especially in the summer. In Michigan, I wear them into the beginning and the tail end of winter, but mid-winter gets too cold for me to use them then. Clogger recently released their winter-model Embers. I’ll be getting a set or two! I got a chance to try some on, and it was like wearing sweatpants! That's comfort.
Don't Even Think Twice
Even if the cut will be quick: wear protection! Chainsaws eat up skin, and it's not pretty. Look it up if you don't believe me, but I don't recommend it.