Forestry workers: are you wearing the right protective pants?

Forestry workers: are you wearing the right protective pants?

3/16/2018 - SPI

According to the International Labour Office, forestry remains one of the most dangerous industrial sectors. Worldwide, we often see depressing trends regarding the increase of the accident rate among forestry workers. It’s the reason why these jobs are protected by laws and obligations in terms of prevention, personal protective equipment and signage, including chain saw protective pants.

Protective equipment is crucial to ensure adequate protection during tree trimming, logging and general forestry work. To prevent any accident, it is essential to be equipped with adapted protection equipment specially designed to meet the activity’s requirements. 

For a logger, one of the main risks is to suffer from a cut wound, mainly on the leg or foot, while operating a chain saw. When the chain saw slides during cutting, the chain action may propel the blade toward the operator’s legs, resulting in potentially fatal injuries. Unfortunately, standard work pants don’t offer sufficient protection in case of such an event.

The chain saw protective work pant often represents the only shield against this type of cuts. Therefore, it is critical to add it this piece of equipment for your protection. The additional safety provided by the cut-resistant forestry chaps or pants can make the difference between life and death.

The different classes of chain saw protective pants

Class A: The class A pant protects around each leg (360 degrees). The protection starts a maximum of 5 cm from the bottom of the leg and ends at least 20 cm above the crotch at the front and a minimum of 50 cm below the crotch at the back.

Class B: A frontal protection covering each leg (180 degrees) plus 5 cm inside the right leg and 5 cm outside the left leg. The protection starts a maximum of 5 cm from the bottom of the leg and ends a minimum of 20 cm above the crotch. The protection must be permanently fixed on the edge of the protective padding. The protection installed must resist at least 200 N.

Class C: Cut-resistant pants identical to the class A with an additional 10 cm length on the left, inside of each leg.

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Class B trousers ensure good protection, but are heavier and more rigid compared to others, which could make them less comfortable. This category is recommended for more dangerous applications, such as for tree trimmers and firefighters. Classes A and C are suitable for most loggers; class C pants are well adapted to right-handed workers to which the left leg is more exposed as this design protects the femoral artery.

Choosing the right chain saw protective pants

Resistance

Each forestry pants wearer must be aware that nothing can completely resist the cut of a chain saw. Chain saw resistance is evaluated according to specific cut-resistance criteria. For example, during tests, the cut should not exceed 0.25 inch to meet the standard. This maximum value must also take place at a precise chain speed, standardized across the United States, but variable depending on each Canadian province. To have a certain resistance level means that the cut will inflict minimal injury while providing additional time for the user to react if the blade touches the body.

Cut-resistant technology

Protective pants have multiple layers of various textiles and, in case of contact with the chain, slow the blade down and block it with an accumulation of fibers in the chain saw’s drive pinion.

There are two main types of fibers offering resistance to chain saw cuts. Fibers, such as knit nylon fibers, are intended to clog or block the chain, while cut-resistant fibers, such as Kevlar, aim to slow the movement, making it difficult to cut. Clogging fibers are commonly used so their long strands twist around the teeth, bar and even the pinions, slowing the speed of the chain, making it stop several times. Kevlar fibers are so difficult to cut that they reduce the speed of the chain, making it difficult to cut through and reach the operator’s flesh. These different fibers are used in a variety of ways to provide cut resistance. Some only use clogging fibers, some only use cut-resistant fibers and others use both. A general guideline is that clothing made of clogging fibers will be heavier and more cumbersome, but less expensive, while clothing made of cut-resistant fibers will be lightweight but more expensive.

Chain saw protective pants Natpro Forest Master

Approved by the independent agency Underwriter Laboratories, the Natpro chain saw protective pants meet the CAN/BNQ 1923-450-m91 standards on leg protection for chain saw users. Lightweight, comfortable, resistant and safe, Natpro pants are made in Canada following stringent regulations. Regular random inspections are carried out on the Natpro production line by independent certification inspectors to ensure the rigorous compliance of CAN/BNQ 1923-450-m91 standards for protecting the legs of chain saw user.

Forest Master, class A, chain saw protective pants are made of 200-denier nylon and polyester at the seat for improved comfort. The elastic waist at the back offers maximum freedom of movement, and the model provides ballistic protection at front and back.

Forest Master operations pants for chain saw users are also available in 400-denier polyester, polyester cotton, 200 or 400-denier nylon, with a bib and/or high back. These models may also be lined for winter temperatures.

Explore the complete line of Natpro protective clothing for forestry workers at the SPI Health and Safety online store. If you require help to select the right protective product, don’t hesitate to ask our experts for advice.