Tuesday, 4 January 2011

Maintenance of chainsaw clothing

The wearing of chainsaw protective clothing is a legal requirement in many instances.

A report published in the Journal of Forest Engineering in New Zealand concluded that "chainsaw garments which were exposed to even the smallest amount of oil, comprehensively failed cut tests".
Chainsaw clothing must be washed regularly to maintain their protective properties.

Check the label first to see if they can be machine washed and follow the HLCC (wash instructions) to the letter. Remove as much oil and dirt as possible from the surface your trousers or jacket with a light washing detergent. The hotter the wash the better the result you will get but check the label, some garments can only be washed at 40 degrees and some can be washed at 60. After washing, can you spin dry? Check the label, this may affect the blocking material.

Heat has a detrimental effect to the blocking fibres ability to stop a saw chain. If you have burned your trousers, throw them away, they will not give you adequate protection.
Exhaust gasses from chainsaws occasionally burn, scorch or melt the outer fabric and this can have a significant effect on the blocking fibres beneath. Do not take unnecessary risks they will not give you the protection you require.

Should you tear the outer fabric on your garment you are allowed to repair it but you must ensure that you do not interfere with the protective blocking material. Do not sew a patch onto the garment with the thread holding the blocking fibres. Patches should be hand stitched to the outer fabric only. If you stitch in the blocking material you can significantly affect its ability to stop the saw.

The CE standard states that:-
"No personal protective equipment can ensure 100% protection against cutting from a hand-held chain saw".
In the majority of accidents, well-maintained garments will stop the saw. If there is a cut through the garment there will be a significant reduction in the injury. Occasionally when a kick back occurs, the garment stops the rotation of the saw, but the impact forces the teeth through the blocking material giving puncture wounds. No garment can protect from this.

It would be wise to keep a couple of packets of Celox material – one in the trouser and one in the truck to ensure that any deep cuts can be treated effectively.

No comments: