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Author Topic: Safest protective gear  (Read 2149 times)

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Offline johndoesti

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Safest protective gear
« on: September 04, 2017, 03:06:44 pm »
I know that gear is no substitute to awareness, sound pratice and knowledge so I want this thread to focus on what you consider is the safest gear out there (please be specific on brand/models). I'm looking for the whole package, helmet with ear/face protection, gloves, chaps & boots (I could be convinced to get a jacket as well). Weight, the fact it'll be hellishly hot in the summer is not an issue as most work is done during fall/winter, I really want to focus on safety. Thanks

Offline longtime lurker

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Re: Safest protective gear
« Reply #1 on: September 04, 2017, 04:22:39 pm »
The two I take seriously are the hard hat and boots. In either case I think that the best bet is to try a few on and get the most comfortable fitting you can. Bad boots will cripple ya and there are few things more annoying then a hard hat that wants to flop around every time you turn your head.
The quickest way to make a million dollars with a sawmill is to start with two million.

Offline celliott

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Re: Safest protective gear
« Reply #2 on: September 04, 2017, 08:46:30 pm »
I think the labonville chaps are the thickest ply kevlar on the market, they definitely are high quality chaps. Get the full wrap ones.
Boots, steel toe leather boots are ok, they will save your toes from crush injuries and maybe a toe cut and are sturdy, but leather won't slow a chain at all. Cut resistant\protecting boots are better. The rubber chainsaw boots are good but not the most comfortable. I just got a pair of haix protector prime boots, they are steel toe, and are chainsaw cut certified with kevlar. My new favorite boots, I'm done buying leather steel toe logger style boots.

Helmet- I have a husqvarna technical forest helmet and really like it. Every manufacturer makes a quality helmet, can't really go wrong IMO.
They do make kevlar cut resistant gloves as well, I don't know though, I don't like wearing gloves in the summer. The majority of chainsaw cut injuries occur to legs

Others will chime in as well, I'm sure, that the most important piece of safety gear is under your helmet. If you're tired and fatigued, quit. If it seems dangerous, or something isn't right, don't do it. Take your time, work slowly and deliberately, and think things through. Probably the most dangerous time for someone running a saw is when they get enough experience to be confident, and they get complacent. Every now and then I'll do something and realize "wow, that was scary" or that was dumb- a kickback event because I wasn't paying attention, a loaded limb snapping back, resting the saw on my leg as it idles down, brake off (snagged my chaps once that way) just things you should notice but don't.
Chris Elliott


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Offline Riwaka

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Re: Safest protective gear
« Reply #3 on: September 05, 2017, 03:51:36 am »
If you are cutting all day for many days the Protos helmet may be worth a try. Using a loud saw - ear plugs and muffs together.
Other items to consider is the quality of a first aid kit. Logging is not usually conducted outside a hospital.
Communication/ personal alerts - radios, alert systems and phones are only effective if they work.
http://logsafe.co.nz/faller-monitoring/
http://www.safe-eyes.co.nz/ (depending on what type of wood you are cutting etc)

Offline nativewolf

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Re: Safest protective gear
« Reply #4 on: September 05, 2017, 07:09:49 am »
I don't really have anything useful on my own equipment and am in the same boat.  I just wanted to add that Haix sells clearance stuff from website directly at 50% off or so.  Not promoting but if you've got really large or really small feet you may find a boot on there that fits at huge savings.  I've never worn a pair but was looking at protective gear myself.  Cutting too much to have no chaps for instance.  My boots are worn out and Redwings are just not comfortable after 4 hours on my feet.  So, I did the googling thang on Haix and that's impressive.  Another poster really liked some rubber boots but they didn't have good ankle support.  These Haix look like better boots. 

There is that company in MT that makes handmade boots, you could search the forum, one reviewer found at a yard sale and had to look up, they were probably $400 boots he got for a few bucks but he said they were the best.  Arborist are saying very good things about the Haix boots and they have demanding needs (climbing, limbing, nimble, safety). 


Offline John Mc

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Re: Safest protective gear
« Reply #5 on: September 05, 2017, 07:30:08 pm »
The safest protective gear is the stuff you will actually use. It's easily possible to go so overboard that there is a temptation not to wear it at all. For example, I prefer to wear full-wrap chaps because they provide better protection around the lower leg than the "apron-style" chaps that only cover the front 180˚. However, I'm working in Vermont. I can see why someone working in the south might make a different choice: the danger from dehydration affecting reflexes and judgement may outweigh the extra protection of heavier PPE.
If the only tool you have is a hammer, you tend to see every problem as a nail.   - Abraham Maslow

Offline John Mc

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Re: Safest protective gear
« Reply #6 on: September 05, 2017, 08:26:27 pm »
As someone already mentioned, Labonville makes some excellent chaps. They make both full-wrap and "regular" (apron-style) chaps. Within their full wrap line, they make Competition Chaps (10 Ply), And there standard line which is 5-ply (similar to most other manufacturers). I've tried on both. While the Competition chaps certainly provide better cut protection, I couldn't stand to wear them. They were just too bulky for my taste. Maybe standing still on the landing, but I couldn't see moving around extensively in the woods in them. Husqvarna, Stihl and others also make good chaps.

Chainsaw protective pants are an alternative to chaps. Some of the newer styles (at least newer in the US, they've been in Europe for a while now) are much more comfortable than the old ones I have. I've been looking at getting some Pfanner pants or some Husqvarna Technical Hi-Vis Chainsaw Pants.

For helmets, there are a wide variety of good manufacturers and models. The main thing to look for is a 6-point suspension. This provides better protection than the 4-point suspension. A ratchet adjustment system is a nice convenience feature (particularly if you are sharing a helmet among different people and need to resize it frequently), but it's not really a safety feature.  I've used a Husqvarna Forest Pro helmet for years. I recently "upgraded" to their "Technical Forest Helmet". More of a comfort upgrade than a safety one.

I'll second the recommendation for Haix Boots. I bought a pair of their XR200 boots a couple of years go. They are some of the most comfortable work boots I've ever worn. I also own a pair of the rubber chainsaw boots. They work well when I'm in very wet situations, but just were not comfortable, so I ended up not wearing them (a friends serious chainsaw injury to his foot prompted me to find a boot I would actually wear).

As Celliot mentioned, the most important piece of safety equipment sits under your helmet. Pay attention, get appropriate training, and stay hydrated (it's scary how much even mild dehydration can affect your reflexes as well as your judgement. If you are feeling thirsty, you ARE dehydrated, and it IS affecting you adversely - it just a matter of how significantly you are being affected.)
If the only tool you have is a hammer, you tend to see every problem as a nail.   - Abraham Maslow

Offline teakwood

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Re: Safest protective gear
« Reply #7 on: September 06, 2017, 08:15:52 am »
The problem here is the heat, i understand that is easy wearing PPE in cold temp but when it's 80-95 its a PITA and you have to obligate yourself. I had to quit work many times just before heat stroke.
I have the pfanner gladiator cool pants (will never buy another brand again!, John Mc: you won't regret buying a pair, expensive but worth every penny. http://www.treestuff.com/store/catalog.asp?category_id=34&item=15417
and then for the head i have this setup: thanks to Holmentree's suggestions! i use it with ear plugs
 

 

Offline John Mc

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Re: Safest protective gear
« Reply #8 on: September 06, 2017, 09:46:11 am »
TeakWood - the Gladiator ventilation pants you linked were one of the ones I was considering (and you even linked the color I was looking at: I want something higher-visibility than the gray, but blue is a magnet for deer flies, so I avoid that color for a couple of months each summer). The problem is, I've never even seen a pair. I'd really like to try them on before I buy, but there are no dealers anywhere near me.

I have at least seen the Husqvarna Technical Hi-Viz Pant. They were on someone else at the time, but he was raving about them.
If the only tool you have is a hammer, you tend to see every problem as a nail.   - Abraham Maslow

Offline DeerMeadowFarm

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Re: Safest protective gear
« Reply #9 on: September 06, 2017, 10:18:29 am »
Helmet - I have a Husqvarna Technical helmet. Fits great, light weight, good visibility and THE best mesh screen I've had on a helmet. I often find myself trying to lower it thinking it wasn't down only to find it was already down.

Chaps: I have a pair of Labonville full wrap chaps. Best ones made IMHO. However, Since I am often climbing in and out of a tractor when I'm cutting/skidding, I find the chaps (any brand) tends to hook the various levers on the tractor. That, and for comfort made me switch to....

Pants: I use Husqvarna chainsaw pants. I forget what model they are. I work for a German owned company for my real job and I am fortunate enough to have a boss that resides there who happens to have a childhood friend who owns the only Husqvarna shop in his village. My boss is more than willing to mule Husqvarna stuff to me and that's how I was able to get my technical helmet before it was offered here and it's also where I got the pants. I'm not even sure they offer that particular model here...?

Boots: For winter cutting in wet conditions (snow) I have a pair of the rubber Husqvarna chainsaw boots. They work well but a lot of people don't like rubber boots. I hunt with Lacrosse 18" tall rubber boots; have for years, so rubber boots to me are comfortable enough. I recently bought some Oregon leather chainsaw boots. Styled like a hiking boot, these have become my favorite boot to wear period. It's water "proof" but obviously not like rubber. I wear them most of the time for every job even if I'm not cutting. I need to buy another pair before they go and discontinue them (with my luck)

Offline John Mc

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Re: Safest protective gear
« Reply #10 on: September 06, 2017, 12:49:07 pm »
Helmet - I have a Husqvarna Technical helmet. Fits great, light weight, good visibility and THE best mesh screen I've had on a helmet. I often find myself trying to lower it thinking it wasn't down only to find it was already down.

... My boss is more than willing to mule Husqvarna stuff to me and that's how I was able to get my technical helmet before it was offered here and it's also where I got the pants. I'm not even sure they offer that particular model here...?

It was kind of weird: The Husqvarna Technical Forest Helmet (not to be confused with their Technical Arborist Helmet) was available in the US for a short time, then disappeared for more than a year - despite remaining in the Husqvarna USA web site. They did not respond to any questions about the status, and none of the dealers with whom I checked had any clue what the story was. I ended up buying mine on eBay from the UK, and it was about $40 CHEAPER than what had been advertised in the USA, even after shipping.

Even more strange: my local dealer was still able to get a replacement ear cup replaced under warranty - only took him about a week to get the replacement.

The Technical Forest Helmet is now available from US dealers - at $130 (more then double the cost of the Forest Pro helmet). Despite the jacked up price, I'm still happy with it -- and if someone wants to mess with it, You can still get the same thing for about $85 or $90 on eBay from the UK.
If the only tool you have is a hammer, you tend to see every problem as a nail.   - Abraham Maslow

Offline Maine372

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Re: Safest protective gear
« Reply #11 on: September 06, 2017, 07:26:06 pm »
i can appreciate your curiosity and research but this is such a subjective topic that there is no definitive answer. the safest gear is what works for you.

at my 'day job' we wear company supplied labonville chaps. they are thick and feel that they offer the best protection from the saw chain. (actually had just the outer shell stop a chain once without reaching the Kevlar.) on the other hand they are stiff! I find them difficult to move in and the wrinkles they get around the knee when bent catch on everything.

when I work for myself I wear Husqvarna branded chaps that are thinner and more flexible. movement is much easier, my legs don't tire as quickly and I have noticeably less tangles/tripping.

which is safer? the chainsaw proof chaps that trip me up or the chainsaw resistant chaps that let me move freely?


Offline teakwood

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Re: Safest protective gear
« Reply #12 on: September 07, 2017, 08:20:29 am »
TeakWood - the Gladiator ventilation pants you linked were one of the ones I was considering (and you even linked the color I was looking at: I want something higher-visibility than the gray, but blue is a magnet for deer flies, so I avoid that color for a couple of months each summer). The problem is, I've never even seen a pair. I'd really like to try them on before I buy, but there are no dealers anywhere near me.

I have at least seen the Husqvarna Technical Hi-Viz Pant. They were on someone else at the time, but he was raving about them.

Can you order them and send them back if they don't fit. there has to be some measuring system that you can get pretty close. I had to order a special size because i am wide (not fat :D) and short, so my pants are L short.
But the pfanner pants really adapt to you figure, the whole back is stretch even the hips, knees and heinie are preformed, you can believe me when i say that they are almost as comfortable as a jogging pants!
They not that famous in America, but they concurred the market in middle europe, in Switzerland almost every professional logging company switched to pfanner, their helmet is considerd the best logging helmet out there. http://www.treestuff.com/store/catalog.asp?category_id=37&item=5688

Offline mike_belben

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Re: Safest protective gear
« Reply #13 on: September 07, 2017, 11:39:24 am »
I wear a petzl arborist helmet with integrated muffs and screen.. since i started as a climber.   Ive never tried another to compare it to, works i guess. 

Logging is maybe one of the oldest jobs around where i live now and i end up talking to a lot of old loggers.  I think my opinion at this point is that the most critical safety gear is between your ears, not getting a saw in the leg or a trunk rolled onto you in the first place is probably the best insurance right?

 Ive observed here lately that a lifetime of felling makes a person way (over)confident in precisely how everything is gonna go cuz it went that way 10,000 times before and this leads to complacence.  deviations in the script can then lead to injury because this confidence prevents the cutter from taking appropriate precaution that a less salty cutter may have.  I cant compete with these production guys at all in bd/ft but im never just trusting that a half inch hinge will hold up a 6 stem domino like they are either.  Id rather make less money than be laid up healing from it. YMMV.   

Offline thecfarm

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Re: Safest protective gear
« Reply #14 on: September 07, 2017, 08:30:01 pm »
One thing I catch myself doing,I have less respect for a 6 inch tree than one 3 feet across.  ::)   I find myself doing things with a 6 inch one that I would never even think about doing with one 3 feet across. I have to think,slow down and respect them all.
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Offline teakwood

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Re: Safest protective gear
« Reply #15 on: September 07, 2017, 11:27:39 pm »
It was a 6 inch tree that broke my leg back in 2007! so now i respect them all!!

Offline johndoesti

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Re: Safest protective gear
« Reply #16 on: September 10, 2017, 01:27:54 pm »
Thank you all for your great comments. I heard a lot of great things about the Pfanner pants but I see no actual tests on how safe they are protecting your legs. Chap tests are all over the place so we know what works and what doesn't but what about the Pfanner pants?

Offline John Mc

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Re: Safest protective gear
« Reply #17 on: September 10, 2017, 03:45:41 pm »
I know they meet European safety standards, since they are widely used in commercial settings in Europe. I've not looked in to what US specs they meet.
If the only tool you have is a hammer, you tend to see every problem as a nail.   - Abraham Maslow

Offline sweetjetskier

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Re: Safest protective gear
« Reply #18 on: September 10, 2017, 07:12:44 pm »
My gear:

Haix XR200 boots, really like them. pair on left are newer, with brand new laces as my puppy ate the originals.  Labonville full wrap chaps.  Little warm in Summer, but a lot cheaper than ER visit.  Husqvarna helmet, face shield long gone. Really want one of the new Husqvarna technical forestry helmets.

All this gear plus other odds and ends fits in a Husqvarna duffle bag, it works well for me.



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Offline johndoesti

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Re: Safest protective gear
« Reply #19 on: September 10, 2017, 08:17:32 pm »
Just ordered a pair of Haix Volt. Hopefully this will turn out to be a safe boot as I didn't see many reviews online.