Are Chainsaw Gloves Necessary?

When handling tools and machinery, it is highly important to practice safety measures. Failure to do so incurs unnecessary risks that could have been avoided. In the United States alone, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, about 35% of chainsaw accidents occur to the left hand and wrist. These accidents incur medical costs, compensation costs, and downtime costs to companies.

The accidents also induce depression in individuals who suffer due to injuries and disabilities the accident’s cause. Therefore, all chainsaw users need to keep themselves secure by wearing personal protective equipment at all times when handling the machinery.

Chainsaws are heavy industrial machines that are powered by either gas or electricity. They use high powered motors, run at very high speeds, and have sharp teeth. This means that they generate a great kickback when in use. Kickback is a forceful backward motion of chainsaws that mostly occurs when its tip comes in contact with a surface.

 

As a professional arborist, chainsaw logger, landscape gardener, tree surgeon, or DIYer, you must be able to handle the chainsaw. Chainsaw gloves are usually slip-resistant, ensuring that when kickback occurs, you will have a firm grip on your chainsaw.

Similar to chainsaw trousers, chainsaw gloves are made up of multiple layers of fiber.

 

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When your gloved hand accidentally comes in contact with the teeth of your chainsaw, the layers of fiber are drawn out, tangling with the teeth and wrapping around the drive sprocket. It reduces the speed of rotation of the chainsaw teeth, locking it up and bringing it to an eventual stop. This reduces or stops any damage that could have been done to your hand.

Factors to Consider Before / When Purchasing Chainsaw Gloves

Safety Rating of Chainsaw Gloves: Chainsaw gloves are rated depending on the operational speeds of chainsaws. These gloves have been tested against chainsaws running at various levels of speed as shown in the table below. The higher the class ranking, the higher the level of protection your glove provides.

It is important to know the recommended glove rating for your chainsaw, as the higher the class, the more expensive the gloves also become. So this could save you a couple of bucks in the long run. You would not want to spend a hundred dollars more on a glove when buying the recommended type would have cost you less.

 

SAFETY RATING

Class

Max. Chain Speed (m/s)

Max. Chain Speed (mph)

Max. Chain Speed (ft/min)

0

16

36

3150

1

20

45

3937

2

24

54

4724

3

28

63

5512

Glove Material: Since chainsaw gloves are made with a lot of layers, you must be aware of what materials are present in your gloves as well as the function they serve. Leather is commonly used in chainsaw gloves because they are moisture-resistant materials.

This means that they help you gain a solid grip on your chainsaw. Kevlar is another common material found in them. They have been gradually replacing the use of Nylon as they are much stronger and offer more protection from heat and abrasions. Lastly, gloves are treated to become hydrophobic, meaning that they are oil and water repellent. 

Abrasion Resistance: Chainsaw users are constantly exposed to rough and abrasive materials such as chippings, sawdust, rocks, and dirt, etc. Lack of protection from these items could lead to wood chippings stuck in your hands, open wounds, and bruises.

 

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Abrasion-resistant gloves protect your hands by preventing friction between your hands and these materials. Hence, your glove must offer this quality.

Tear Resistance: Chainsaw gloves must also be resistant to tear to a high degree. Imagine a cut from a chainsaw. It is very messy because chainsaws have ragged teeth, meaning that you do not get a clean cut. Rather the chainsaw rips and tears the gloves open. Your chainsaw glove must not tear easily when it comes in contact with your chainsaw.

Cut Resistance: Cut resistance is different from tear resistance. It determines the number of cycles the chainsaw must complete when cutting through the gloves. Your chainsaw glove must have a high cut resistance.

Puncture Resistance: Also your glove must be highly resistive to punctures from sharp objects like needles and pins. This way you will be sure to know that your gloves can protect you from anything and everything.

 

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Vibration Dampening: Some gloves on the market dampen the vibrations generated by the chainsaw. This reduces the chances of chainsaw operators suffering from hand-arm vibration syndrome (HAVS). This syndrome is characterized by loss of feeling (numbness) as well as aches and pains in the joints and muscles of the fingers.

Chainsaw Glove Recommendations

With the factors listed above, you will know what gloves to pick. However, here are a few of our honorable mentions.

Endura Hi-Viz Vibration Dampening Gloves: These are quite popular. As the name implies, they are vibration dampening. They are also abrasion resistant, cut resistant, water resistant, comfortable, and yet offer you a solid grip on your chainsaw.

Husqvarna’s Safety Gloves: This list would mean nothing if this glove was not mentioned. They are high quality protective gloves that are comfortable to wear and offer a high degree of cut resistance on the left hand glove. It is the left hand glove because a majority of the accidents occur on the left hand rather than the right. Of course, this may have to do with the fact that most people are right-handed.

Oregon Chainsaw Gloves: These are functional and maneuverable gloves. They are inexpensive having reinforced leather.

How to Care for Your Safety Gloves

Washing a glove is not like washing your regular clothes. You have got to make sure that the high quality of the fibers within the gloves are not reduced. Therefore, in this section, you will be learning how to properly care for your chainsaw gloves.

Also, I must say that while you are not required to wash your safety gloves every day, they must be washed at least once a week. In the event of a terrible spill on your gloves, they should be washed immediately. It is unprofessional to work with dirty PPE.

When caring for your gloves, first read the maintenance instructions on how to clean them. Most gloves are usually hand washed with lukewarm water and some can be machine washed. Also, they are not to be dried in the dryer. Strictly natural air drying is recommended.

This is done to prevent the loose layers of fiber from clumping up such that when an accident occurs they will be loose enough to clog the drive sprocket and stop the chainsaw as quickly as possible. This reducing the damage that would have occurred.

In conclusion, I must say that wearing the recommended safety gloves suited to your chainsaw type is an absolute must. The frequency in which accidents occur while handling a chainsaw is very high and a lot of them occur on the left hand. Gloves should also be cleaned appropriately, so the extra layer of defence they provide will not immediately wear out.