Those who use a chain saw on a regular basis whether just around the house or for commercial purposes, will want to consider the use of chainsaw safety chaps to protect their legs from accidental cuts. Providing protection from the waist to the ankles in the front of the wearer, many of the chainsaw safety chaps have been tested to provide complete protection against chain cuts when a saw moving at 2,500 feet per minute comes into contact with the chaps at either a 45 or 90-degree angle.
It is important to remember that chainsaw safety chaps are not designed to stop chainsaws operating at speeds above 2,500 feet per second and not all chaps are created equal. Underwriters Laboratories tests chainsaw safety chaps to meet certain minimum requirements, among them being able to stop a chain moving at that speed before the chain can penetrate the inner lining of the garment.
Essentially, the standards are established to provide a minimum standard of protection to offer the opportunity to compare the different makes of chainsaw safety chaps. While many of the brands may offer similar protection, unless it has been certified by the Underwriters Laboratory, there is no guarantee they will offer the same protection against cuts during an accident.
Chaps Do Not Eliminate Occupational Hazards
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration, OSHA, has not accepted chainsaw safety chaps as a means of preventing accidents, although the agency does recognize the minimum standards established for their manufacture. Safety regulations for chain saw users simply state that they must wear leg protection and often refer to the standards previously established without mentioning brand names.
Testing of chainsaw safety chaps done by a third party such as Underwriters Laboratory is readily accepted as having met the industry standard. While all companies will test their own products before submitting them to UL for testing, unless it passes the UL test chainsaw safety chaps are not considered to have met the standard. It should also be noted that the standards are the minimum and even while wearing the chaps, serious injuries can occur if the chain is moving faster than the testing speed or the angle of contact is different from that used during the testing process.
While the use of chainsaw safety chaps, along with chainsaw safety boots will not guarantee the user will never cut their legs in a chainsaw accident, they do offer additional protection and greatly reduce the odds of a serious leg injury.