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Why Do You Need Chainsaw Gloves?

Why Do You Need Chainsaw Gloves

Chainsaws have made wood cutting jobs easier but using these tools without proper safety measures can be dangerous. Chainsaws use high-speed cutting mechanisms that can hurt the human skin and bones in a very short time. A little mishandling can lead to serious injury or lifetime disability. Whenever we talk about chainsaw safety gear a common question that pops into the mind is why do you need chainsaw gloves?

Chainsaw gloves are a crucial part of chainsaw safety gear since hands and wrists are at higher risk. According to CPSC (Consumer Product Safety Commission), more than 30% of chainsaw injuries occur to hands and wrists. In this post, I’ll discuss how gloves can reduce the risk of injury while working with the chainsaw. Also, I’ll discuss different types of gloves and the features that you must consider while buying chainsaw gloves

Why Do You Need Chainsaw Gloves?

You need chainsaw gloves since the operator’s hand and wrist are highly prone to injuries. A little mishandling can lead to painful contact of the chain and skin. To avoid tissue or bone damage, you must wear rugged cut-resistant and puncture-resistant pairs of gloves.

Serious injuries escalate depression among the workers and lead to lower productivity. Also, it results in high medical costs, compensation costs, and insurance costs for the companies. Therefore many companies have made it necessary to wear chainsaw safety gloves on the job site. Also have a look at the free online chainsaw safety courses.

How Can a Chainsaw Hurt Your Hand And Wrist?

Chainsaws are heavy-duty structures with one of the most powerful cutting mechanisms. These tools use heavy-duty engines that are either powered by gasoline or electricity. The cutting mechanism of the chainsaw consists of chains with ultra-sharp teeth. The power generated by the motor is utilized to move the chain in a circular motion. Professional grade chainsaws can move as fast as 14000 rpm.

This high-strength cutting mechanism makes them exceptionally functional in tough forestry jobs. However, you need a higher level of expertise to operate these complex structures. Even with proper care and maintenance, you cannot eliminate the chances of an accident. Most chainsaw injuries are associated with the kickback. A kickback usually happens when the chain comes in contact with a hard surface.

It stops the chain and pushes the tool backward. It is pretty hard to handle this high-energy jerk. In case of a tough kickback, the operator loses control of a tool which can lead to accidental hand contact with the chain. Kickback can injure many other body parts like the face, neck, and chest but the hand and wrist are highly prone to serious injury. So do you still have doubts about using safety gloves? I’m sure you have not. So let’s start with chainsaw gloves features.

How Can a Chainsaw Hurt Your Hand And Wrist
Infographic: How Can a Chainsaw Hurt Your Hand And Wrist

1. Rip/Tear Resistance

This is a crucial part of the gloves hazard test rating. The rip resistance of the gloves refers to the net impact force that can rip them apart when it comes in contact with the material. Rip resistance is measured on a scale from 1 to 4. Each number in the scale describes a specific force in Nm. For professional grade chainsaw application, you look for a year retake 3 or above.

2. Cut Resistance

Cut resistance refers to the glove’s ability to resist the cuts within a given range of force. Since chainsaws use ultra-sharp blades, a pair of gloves with higher cut resistance ensures a safe operation. The American National Safety Standard Institute rates the glove’s cut resistance on a scale from level A1 to A9. Each level on the scale refers to the cutting weight/force that gloves can handle without having a full cut.

The gloves with an A1 rating can take a cutting load between 200g to 400 g. In higher levels like A5 and above the cut resistance of the glove becomes as high as 6000 grams of cutting load. While buying gloves for chainsaw operation you must look for protective gloves with cut resistance rating A6 and above.

EN 388 is the European safety standard for protection against mechanical damage. EN 388 measures the cut resistance of the gloves on a scale of 1 to 5. It is done by testing sample gloves with a specific cutting force. Each number on the scale refers to the number of continuous cycles that are needed to make a cut through the exterior of the gloves.

3. Puncture Resistance

ANSI 105 and EN 388 measure the puncture resistance of the gloves by performing a sample test. In this test, the gloves are kept firmly between the poles and a probe (like a ball pint) penetrates the fabric. The force required to induce a puncture in the glove surface is recorded and all the values are classified on a scale of 1 to 5 in ANSI and 1 to 4 on EN 388.

The gloves rated 5 for picture resistance on the ANSI scale can resist the force up to 150+ Newtons. For gasoline-powered chainsaws, it is recommended to choose gloves that are rated 3 or higher on the puncture resistance scale. Gloves with puncture resistance of fewer than 50 newtons can be used for cordless battery-powered chainsaws.

4. Abrasion Resistance

The kickback-related injuries are less about cuts and more about abrasion. So it is the most crucial feature of the protective gloves you should consider. The abrasion resistance of the protective gloves is the number of cycles or tough encounters with matters that gloves can handle before failure. The abrasion resistance is usually performed using fine sandpaper. The abrasion resistance of the gloves is presented on a rating scale from 1 to 4.

5. Chainsaw Glove Construction

The glove’s ability to resist cut, abrasion, and puncture depend upon the type and quality of the material from which it is made.

Chainsaw Glove Construction

Leather Outer Layer

Leather is one of the most famous outer covering materials for chainsaw gloves. Premium-grade leather or genuine leather has higher resistance against tearing and ripping. Another best part of the leather is that it is highly resistant to moisture and offers excellent grip. The non-slip surface of the leather offers a solid grip on the tool and prevents accidental slipping.

Waterproof Layer

Leather is moisture resistant but not waterproof. Since chainsaw is mainly used in outdoor applications, it needs a completely hydrophobic outer layer. A hydrophobic layer makes the gloves completely waterproof and offers a strain-free experience in the rainy season.

Cut Resistant Layer

A cut-resistant layer of fiberglass is the basic requirement of chainsaw gloves. Gloves that are rated A6 or above on the cut resistance scale usually come with a fiber or metal mesh layer. Spectra Fiber is one of the most common materials used in protective gloves. These are ultra-high molecular weight polyurethane fibers that are known for their high strength and durability.

These are the strongest yet most lightweight fibers. The impressive weight-strength ratio makes them a perfect option for safety gear. A Spectra fiber layer in the gloves ensures excellent cut resistance without adding extra bulk to the gloves. Another cut-resistant layer used in the protective gloves is the metal mesh.

A stainless steel mesh is a high-strength structure that ensures advanced puncture, abrasion, and cut resistance. It may add a little extra weight to the gloves. However, these gloves stand high on puncture-resistance and cut-resistance scales and are highly recommended for professional-grade gasoline-powered chainsaws.

Kevlar

Kevlar is a synthetic heat-resistant fiber that is used to build safety equipment for automotive applications and metal handling applications. Kevlar fiber thread in sheets is a favorite material choice for chainsaw gloves construction. Kevlar thread is used to do rip-proof stitching and offers impressive durability in tough conditions.

What makes kevlar a perfect option for professional-grade safety equipment is its impressive tensile strength with low elasticity. It is less elastic than nylon and offers 3 times more tensile strength. These features take its abrasion resistance to a whole new level making it a perfect choice for chainsaw gloves.

6. Vibration dampening

In addition, to cut and impact protection, chainsaw gloves dampen vibration. Heavy duty chainsaws weighing more than 20 lbs produce a lot of vibrations. These vibrations are a serious matter of concern since they can have both long-term and short-term effects. Its short-term effects include aches in the wrist, finger joints, and hands. Also, it may limit joint mobility.

The long-term encounter with vibration can lead to more serious conditions like hand-arm vibration syndrome (HVAS). This condition is characterized by numbness or limited mobility of the muscles. These symptoms usually appear at the later stages of the syndrome. If not treated on time it can lead to even worse conditions like permanent disability. A pair of gloves with good impact resistance can dissipate the energy and dampen the vibration.

It reduces the chances of HVAS and offers an untiring experience even in a tough commercial environment. Anti-vibration gloves contain multiple layers and feature a thick profile. The vibration energy of the tool is dissipated at each layer and a very small portion of energy reaches the body. While buying a new pair of gloves for chainsaw safety you must look for their ability to dampen the vibrations.

7. Size

The size of the gloves is another important consideration. You can’t expect stability and control if you don’t get the right fit with gloves. A snug and secure fit are crucial for maximum control of the tool, so you must look for the size that fits you best.

Chainsaw Gloves Maintenance

To ensure maximum safety in the long run it’s crucial to take good care of the gloves. You need to clean and maintain them regularly to get the best out of them.

Chainsaw Gloves Maintenance

Washing

In general hand washing is recommended for chainsaw gloves. This is because chainsaw gloves contain multiple layers like fibers and mesh. These layers may lose alignment if washed in a machine. Refer to the instructions to see if a machine wash is recommended or not.

Proper Storage

You need to store the chainsaw gloves in a clean and dry place to avoid moisture and smell issues. A little moisture in the gloves can make you uncomfortable on the Jobsite leading to poor control. Poor control may result in an accident.

Best Chainsaw Gloves To Buy In 2022

1. PORTWEST A290 LEATHER CHAINSAW PROTECTION GLOVES

PORTWEST A290 LEATHER CHAINSAW PROTECTION GLOVES

PORTWEST A290 is certified for use with chainsaw and meat all EN-388 safety standards. These gloves boast class-leading cut resistance and moisture-wicking properties making them the perfect options for challenging outdoor applications. The genuine leather outer layer is rugged enough to withstand tough cuts with heavy-duty chainsaws.

On the EN-388 cut-resistant scale these gloves stand at level 3 which is very impressive. In addition to cut resistance, leather offers incredible grip on the tool for an untiring experience. Another standout part of the chainsaw is EN-381-7 protection. This is a safety standard set by European safety standards for handheld chainsaws.

The gloves are rugged and lightweight which ensures that you don’t lose tool control. For maximum breathability, the gloves come with a cotton inner liner. The liner is made of cotton that resists the heat, and prevents sweating, keeping your hand cool and dry at the workspace.

The gloves also stand higher on the abrasion resistance scale and last longer than your expectations. For maximum dexterity and agility, these gloves use a polyurethane coat. They are available in a wide range of sizes making it easier to choose the one that suits you best. The only issue I faced with these gloves is that they lack wrist fitting adjustment. The extra strap offers a secure fit but it gets loose over time leading to stability issues.

PROS

  • Class-leading cut and abrasion resistant
  • The left glove meets EN 381-7 Standards
  • Highly breathable liner
  • Low bulk design

CONS

  • Lack a personalized fit

Portwest A290 leather gloves are designed with the needs of tough chainsawing applications in mind. If you work with high-powered corded or gasoline-powered chainsaws, these gloves are the safest option you can have.

FAQs

Should you wear gloves when using a chainsaw?

Yes, you should wear safety gloves while using a chainsaw. A chainsaw is a heavy structure with an ultra-sharp cutting mechanism that can cause serious hand and wrist injuries with a little mishandling. Gloves protect from the cuts and also dampen the vibration giving you an untiring experience.

What is a Cut Rated or Cut Resistant Glove?

Cut-rated or cut-resistant gloves are those gloves that meet the safety standards set by either ANSI or EN. Gloves that are tested to meet certain safety standards set by these organizations are rated on the cut resistance scale. Any glove that is rated on the ANSI or EN-388 cut resistance scale is known as cut-rated gloves.

What kind of gloves should you use when using a chainsaw?

While working with chainsaws you should wear professional-grade protective gloves that are designed for metal and glass handling. Gloves featuring a solid Spectra Fiber lining or stainless steel mesh lining offer the best cut resistance and are the best option for chainsaw operators.

Why do loggers wear cotton gloves?

Loggers wear either cotton gloves or gloves with cotton lining since they have better heat resistance. Cotton is a breathable material that prevents sweating and suffocation. Also cotton has a good heat resistance and it will not melt under high heat conditions.

Do lumberjacks wear gloves?

Lumberjacks wear gloves since in many states it is illegal to operate heavy-duty chainsaws without protective gear. Gloves are an essential part of chainsaw safety gear and ensure maximum protection from the kickback impact energy and accidental cuts.

Wrapping Up

I’m sure that this guide will help you understand why you need chainsaw gloves. Since most chainsaw injuries occur on the left hand and wrist, it is crucial to put on a safety shield before something bad happens. The best part is that a wide range of chainsaw safety gloves is available over a wide price band. It makes it easy to find a pair of chainsaw gloves that fit your work needs and budget.

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