When working with chainsaws, the Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) of a tree climber includes not only helmet, harness, climbing system and lanyard, but also chainsaw protection clothing. PPE protects health, saves lives and is required by law. The central element of the chainsaw protection clothing is the chainsaw protection trousers. For arborists, however, trousers must do more than just protect against cuts. A good and practical chainsaw protection trousers for tree climbers is also light and comfortable.
How chainsaw protection trousers protect
Chainsaw protection trousers protect in particular the leg area of the arborist when working with the chainsaw. DIN EN 381-5 divides the trousers into three different types. Typical for professional forest workers and arborists is the cut protection form A. The chainsaw protection of the trousers depends on how the worker holds the saw and how the chain of the chainsaw runs. Type A therefore covers the front and left side of the legs.
Chainsaw protection trousers type C additionally protect the back of the legs. This form is intended for people who work less often with chainsaws or who need or want a higher level of protection due to special tasks. The transition shape B is not very common and hardly available in stores.
New chainsaw protection standard
In recent years, the well-known European standard EN 381 has been completely revised. These changes have been incorporated into the new standard EN 11393, which will replace the old one. Of course, the changes first affect manufacturers and in a second step dealers. But there are also some interesting changes for users. Among other things, type B has been dropped in the new standard and replaced by a completely new design B – the chaps style.
» more information on our Blog: EN 11393 replaces EN 381
Chainsaw protection trousers consist of two layers. The outer fabric of the trousers is a tear-resistant, water- and dirt-repellent functional fabric. The second layer provides chainsaw protection on. It consists of a layer of loosely woven, very long and tear-resistant threads. If the running chainsaw touches the trousers, it first tears the outer fabric before the cut protection layer grips. The long and firm threads of this layer get caught in the chain, wrap themselves immediately around the drive wheel and block the chainsaw within fractions of a second.
How a chainsaw protection trouser works
This simple technique of the chainsaw protection trousers prevents with simple means worst cuts by the chainsaw. However, they do not guarantee one hundred percent protection. Under unfavourable circumstances, slight injuries are possible due to the blocked chain.
What do the different classes of chainsaw protection trousers mean?
Another important point in choosing the right chainsaw protection trousers is the performance of the chainsaw. Protective clothing is therefore divided into different protection classes. The higher the class, the stronger the protection and the thicker the protective insert.
The indicated chain speed refers only to the speed of the chain in the laboratory test. In practice, however, other factors such as chain sharpness, angle or chain tension are decisive for the protection level of the trousers.
- Class 0 16 m/s Chain speed
- Class 1 20 m/s Chain speed (standard)
- Class 2 24 m/s Chain speed
- Class 3 28 m/s Chain speed
Chainsaw protection trousers for arborists mainly correspond to class 1, since in practice the extremely powerful chainsaws are not or only rarely used.
Which chainsaw protection trousers for an arborist?
Light and flexible trousers are important for arborists. Anyone who climbs high into the treetops every day and swings from branch to branch is happy about every gram less weight and a maximum of freedom of movement. However, safety must not suffer as a result. For example, special Dyneema® fibers save weight and increase freedom of movement when it comes to chainsaw protection. Microfiber outer fabrics are significantly lighter than polyamide fabrics. However, the weight savings are at the expense of protection against thorns or barbed wire.
Chainsaw protection trousers for arborists are worked particularly smoothly on the pockets and zippers, so that the climbing harness sits optimally and nothing presses. Stretch inserts improve the important freedom of movement. The trousers on the knees and lower legs are often reinforced to cope with the additional abrasion caused by daily climbing. The work in tree care is also exhausting and sweat-inducing and breathable cut protection trousers are certainly advantageous on a hot day. A zipper or mesh fabric on the back of the leg provides welcome extra ventilation.
Chainsaw protection trousers for arborist at Freeworker
Chainsaw protection gaiters are an option for short-term work with the chainsaw on the ground. They are quickly pulled over the work trousers and shoes. However, when using the chainsaw for longer periods of time, the chainsaw protection trousers remain the first choice. Also chainsaw protection gaiters must be certified according to cut protection DIN EN 381-5.
Many manufacturers of chainsaw protection trousers offer suitable braces. This is an investment that is particularly worthwhile for arborists, because if the trousers slip when climbing, they can no longer be straightened because of the climbing harness. Braces prevent slipping and thus increase comfort in the tree.
Arborist special: The cut protection overall
Working with a chainsaw high up in the crown is a different operation from cutting down a tree when standing safely on the ground. The working positions are different and the saw is also used more frequently by the tree climber. Overhead cuts, cuts at chest or abdominal height are not optimal, but cannot always be avoided. Therefore, Pfanner has developed a special chainsaw protection overall for climbers that protects the legs as well as the abdomen and chest area.
Chainsaw protection trousers with a system
With the Arborflex, Arbortec has developed a new generation of chainsaw protection trousers. The key feature of this trousers system: it consists of two layers that are easy to change. When working with a chainsaw, the Base A is the chainsaw protection base layer, which can be combined with various overpants. Worn separately, the Skins Pro are high quality work and climbing trousers and become certified chainsaw protection trousers with the Base A. In bad weather, the waterproof Skins Storm are the perfect choice. Like the Skins Pro, they can be worn by the arborist individually or in combination. Thus, the Arboflex system offers the arborist an ingenious and simple system that adapts to the daily changing demands of work trousers in tree care!
New style according to the standard EN 11393-2: Chaps
The chainsaw protection chaps are perfect for tasks that require only occasional use of the chainsaw. SIP Protection has developped the Roadrunner Chaps with clips. They are simply pulled over normal work trousers and fastened with the clips and adjustable straps. This way, the chainsaw protection is quickly put on and fits when it is needed – but just as quickly taken off again when the chainsaw is no longer used. This is a decisive advantage especially in tree care and tree climbing.
How do I care for my chainsaw protection trousers correctly?
Another important criterion for chainsaw protection trousers is care. The wrong detergent, oil, resin or high temperatures can stick the fibres together and impair protection. Minor repairs of holes, cracks or open seams on the trousers are to be avoided at all costs, because when patching or sewing there is a danger that the outer fabric and the chainsaw protection insert will be sewn together. In an emergency, this impairs safety and, in the worst case, the chainsaw protection does not work.
Even chainsaw protection trousers will not last forever. When a pair of trousers has to be replaced is stated in the instructions for use and varies depending on the manufacturer. If the trousers have to be washed, the washing instructions of the manufacturer must be observed.