CHAIN SAW CHAPS PREVENT INJURY
BACKGROUND: A timber cutter was limbing a felled tree on a winter day in the Appalachians.
PERSONAL CHARACTERISTICS: The timber cutter's age was not reported, but he had several years of experience in logging. He was considered fully trained, and he was wearing personal protective equipment.
UNSAFE ACT: While limbing the tree, the end of his chain saw bar contacted and glanced off a small limb.
ACCIDENT: The saw chain cut an approximately 12-inch-long gash into his safety chaps near the knee area.
INJURY: The lining in the chaps shredded and bound the saw chain and sprocket, stopping the chain saw almost immediately. The saw chain was broken in the process. The cutter sustained no injuries and only received a slight nick in his blue jeans under the chaps. The timber cutter reported that the accident happened so fast that he had been afraid to look at his leg for a few seconds.
RECOMMENDATIONS FOR CORRECTION: Always wear chaps or other leg protective apparel, and eye, ear, foot, and hand protection when operating a chain saw. This incident shows how personal protective equipment can successfully interrupt the chain of events leading to an injury. "These chaps sure made a believer out of me," said the timber cutter.
Be careful not to let the kickback portion of the saw bar contact limbs or other objects while operating the saw. Be sure that the saw's chain brake is fully functioning. The chain brake provides an additional line of defense against saw kickback forces.
Appalachian Technical Division Forester
Please follow equipment manufacturers' recommendations for safe operation and maintenance procedures.