Chainsaw Pants and Chaps

When chainsaw injuries do occur, the bulk of them are leg injuries.

With the apparent danger of chainsaws, it just makes sense that there are chainsaw pants and chaps available. Personal protective equipment (PPE) is a must when it comes to minimizing injuries when using chainsaws. chaps are usually under $100 whereas the pants can obviously be more pricey.

OSHA

OSHA states in 1910.266(d)(1)(iv): The employer shall provide, at no cost to the employee, and assure that each employee who operates a chain saw wears leg protection constructed with cut-resistant material, such as ballistic nylon. The leg protection shall cover the full length of the thigh to the top of the boot on each leg to protect against contact with a moving chainsaw.

Chainsaw protection usually has 400, 600, or 1000 Denier outer shells which is a unit of measure for the linear mass density of fibers, which is the mass in grams per 9000 meters of the fiber. They contain Aramid fibers, (aromatic polyamide), which are a class of heat-resistant and strong synthetic fibers.

Aramid fibers are used in aerospace and military applications, for ballistic-rated body armor fabric and ballistic composites, in marine cordage, marine hull reinforcement, and as an asbestos substitute. The chain molecules in the fibers are highly oriented along the fiber axis.

As a result, a higher proportion of the chemical bond contributes more to fiber strength than in many other synthetic fibers. Aramids have a very high melting point (>500 °C). The best materials are usually Kevlar, TEK Warp, Dyneema, and Kevmalimot. The stranding of fibers is vertical and in layers, usually 6-9. When the chainsaw cuts into the pants these strands will stop the rotation of the chainsaw blade in less than one complete revolution.

Chainsaw chaps use a fabric class rating from 0 to 3. Class 0 fabric is suitable for chainsaws with a max speed of 16 meters per second (m/s), while class 1 can handle speeds up to 20 m/s. Thicker chaps with a class 2 rating are suitable for chainsaws with a 24 m/s rating, and class 3 chaps will protect against chainsaws with a max of 28 m/s. You can find the speed of your chainsaw in the operating manual. As seen in the videos below this will stop the chain from tearing into the leg. Price does matter in this case, the better material stops the chain sooner. They also make boots with this same technology to protect your feet.

Items to look for in Pants and Chaps
  • Pockets are nice to have
  • Weight – they can be rather heavy
  • Ankle protection – make sure they are long enough
  • You want no less than 6 layers of material
  • Flexible size – adjustable
  • Good airflow (breathability) is nice – they can be rather hot
  • Durability, oil/water, and stain resistance
  • Make sure they have a safety certificate and a material guarantee
  • If you have an electric chainsaw, you would require chaps suitable for electric chainsaws and not gas-powered chainsaws – these may be hard to find
  • Chaps are quicker to get on and off, and cooler, but may get in the way and be cumbersome while climbing a tree or getting in and out of a skidder.
  • Pants are best for climbers, are more comfortable, complete protection, but can be hot
Bob Vila’s Choices for Best Chaps 2022
  • BEST OVERALL: Husqvarna 587160704 Technical Apron Wrap Chap
  • RUNNER UP: FORESTER Durable Chainsaw Safety Chaps
  • BEST FOR CLIMBING: Notch Armorflex Chainsaw Protective Pants
  • BEST KEVLAR: LABONVILLE Premium Chainsaw Chaps
  • BEST REVERSIBLE: FORESTER Chainsaw Safety Chaps with Pocket
  • BEST LIGHTWEIGHT: Husqvarna 587160702 Chain Saw Chaps


Footnotes
  1. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is a large regulatory agency of the United States Department of Labor that originally had federal visitorial powers to inspect and examine workplaces.  Congress established the agency under the Occupational Safety and Health Act OSH Act, which President Richard M. Nixon signed into law on December 29, 1970. OSHA’s mission is to “assure safe and healthy working conditions for working men and women by setting and enforcing standards and by providing training, outreach, education, and assistance”. The agency is also charged with enforcing a variety of whistleblower statutes and regulations. OSHA’s workplace safety inspections have been shown to reduce injury rates and injury costs without adverse effects on employment, sales, credit ratings, or firm survival. [Back]

Further Reading

Sources

Survival Gearist
Stihl
Amazon
ChainsawGuru
Gemplers
Wikipedia
Bob Vila


Author: Doyle

I was born in Atlanta, moved to Alpharetta at 4, lived there for 53 years and moved to Decatur in 2016. I've worked at such places as Richway, North Fulton Medical Center, Management Science America (Computer Tech/Project Manager) and Stacy's Compounding Pharmacy (Pharmacy Tech).

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