I think it goes without saying that if you are working with a machine like a chainsaw, which has been designed to make great tasks such as chopping down and slicing through trees seem a whole lot easier, then it’s only normal that you don’t want your hands to get in the way of your task as much as you can avoid it. When working with chainsaws, it is very important to be on gloves for several safety reasons which include the danger of getting cut by the chain or cutter. Besides, that is not the only danger that could be encountered. Other environmental factors such as thorns, sharp branches, glass, sharp stones, and more are things that you can come across while cutting through trees and shrubs. This is where a chainsaw glove comes into play.
Why You Need Chainsaw Gloves
Chainsaw gloves are very essential for using a chainsaw safely. Good cut resistance glove will protect you in case you accidentally hit your glove with the chainsaw. They will also keep your hands warm and protect your fingers against other hazards.
Asides being a piece of protective equipment, wearing chainsaw gloves also gives you a better grip on your chainsaw handle, making you work more conveniently and confidently. This is because you wouldn’t have to worry about getting injured by your saw as much. This will ultimately allow you to focus better on the job, keeping you, people and objects around you safe as well. Have you been using your chainsaw without safety gloves? Do you still have doubts about using chain saw gloves? Are you curious about why you need chainsaw gloves? Don’t look too far. In the rest of this article, you will not only get the answers that you need but also various guides to help you make a choice when purchasing chainsaws gloves.
Where Do You Start?
Chainsaws are readily available at different stores for anyone and everyone to purchase and they can help take the stress out in cutting wood and felling trees. However, the risks are plain to see. We will not be going into the details, but we highly recommend that it is not best to cut corners when it comes to your chainsaw protection. There are several ranges of chainsaw gloves that are well suited for both budding amateurs and professional tree cutters as well, but choosing the right pair may seem confusing and overwhelming especially if you’re new to the process. So as to make your experience a lot easier, we have created this article to provide you with all the essential technical know-how that will help you make the right decision when it comes to choosing the right gloves for you. So where do you start?
It is important that chainsaw gloves are strong and durable enough without any loss of dexterity. It is also great that they are able to get your work done while still keeping you comfortable. Now when you want to purchase your chainsaw glove, it can be quite overwhelming making the right choice especially with several varieties available on the market. There are certain factors to look out for so as to ensure that you make the best use of your gear. The following factors are what we recommend for you to look for in a chainsaw glove:
- The leather covering: Leather is naturally tear-resistant and is the ideal option for heavy-duty work. Now, more leather will only mean more protection especially when it comes to chainsaw gloves. Also, in wet or rainy conditions, leather helps the user to maintain a high level of grip in order to reduce the chances of accidents or hazards.
- A chainsaw lining: This lining is often designed to be in the left hand or sometimes in both and it works in a way that it slows down or ultimately stops the chainsaw chain by either tangling within it or reducing its acceleration if perhaps it comes in to contact with the gloves.
- Water resistance: Chainsaw gloves should be hydrophobic, that is, should repel water. This will enable the user to be able to operate the chain saw even in wet conditions without the fear of the saw slipping off during operation. Many chainsaw gloves are now made to be hydrophobic so as to make sure that they repel water as well as oil.
- Kevlar: The Kevlar fiber thread is often used for stitching in order to reinforce the joints and seams on temperature-resistant gloves. Kevlar gloves usually provide a cut and heat-resistant option. They are typically a lightweight flexible material used for different kinds of applications that are related to automotive operations, sheet metal handling and glass handling. It has more than twice the tensile strength of either nylon or polyester and with less elasticity. It is also five times stronger than steel per unit weight. This feature gives more strength to the glove and prevents it from wearing off.
- Fiber: The spectra fiber is a polyethylene fiber that provides high cut resistance, even when it is wet. It is also about eight to ten times stronger than steel per unit weight.
- Metal Mesh: The intertwined stainless steel mesh provides protection against advanced cut and puncture. This feature is due to its superior strength.
The above features are the basic requirements for chainsaw gloves. Now there is even more to just purchasing a chainsaw glove. There are other factors that you need to know about and consider before purchasing one. Now for the more technical parts, we would be giving an overview of the requirements as well as their meanings just so you can make a better choice.
What is a Cut Rated or Cut Resistant Glove?
It is safe to assume that in your experience with chainsaw safety gloves, you may have heard about cut rated gloves. Certainly, someone who is new to this may not really know what a cut rated glove means. Now a cut rated or cut resistant glove is one that meets at least one of two of the rating standards for a material. The two rating standards that are often used are the EN388 Standard or the ANSI Standard. The EN388 standard is a European Standard that is used in every country in the world. However, the ANSI Standard is a Standard that is used only in America. Both of these Standards are measured differently and are used in determining the resistance of certain materials, such as a glove.
So, cut resistant gloves are gloves that are able to withstand cuts, punctures, abrasion, and tears. There are different ratings to this, and the cut rating of a glove determines how resistant it is to cuts. There are four different hazard tests that are carried out on these gloves to ensure that they keep to standards. Usually, their hazard levels are measured based on numbers. The higher the performance level or rate, the stronger the glove’s resistance to that particular hazard. The general mechanical standard EN388, are always subjected to four different hazard tests, that is, the test to four different hazards. These include Abrasion Resistance, Cut Resistance, Tear Resistance, and Puncture Resistance.
Different Types of Hazard Test.
1. Abrasion Resistance
This is defined as the number of cycles or periods that the glove material can conveniently resist or withstand a coarse or tough surface before the glove fails. Every chainsaw safety glove should be able to pass this test in order to properly protect the hands from hazards. Resistance to abrasion is an important factor for chainsaw gloves. Several substances like sawdust and chipping that the chain saw operator come in contact with while using the gloves can cause the gloves to deteriorate over time, hence it is important that the chainsaw glove is able to withstand this prolonged friction. The abrasion resistance is often measured on a scale of 1 to 4 which is done by taking a sample glove and testing to see how many cycles (that is, abrasion by sandpaper under a certain pressure force) is required to degrade the glove.
2. Cut Resistance
The cut resistance is the measure of how much slicing or cuts the glove can handle before it fails. While cutting through trees or shrubs with torn and sharp twigs, it is very normal for the chainsaw glove to get cut by some of these materials. If during every encounter, the glove material is strong enough to resist the cuts, then it is good to go. Cut resistance allows the user to easily handle sharp objects without the risk of injury to the hands. The EN 388 measures cut resistance on a scale of 1 and 5 which is also done by taking a sample glove and determining how many continuous cycles are needed to cut through the exterior of the sample glove.
3. Tear Resistance
This is defined as the amount or level of force the glove can withstand before its strength is compromised and the material is torn or ripped. This is also an important factor that must be considered when shopping for a chainsaw glove. Resistance to tearing is also important for chainsaw gloves because chainsaws do not cut like a knife but rather rip and tear any material that it comes in contact with. Tear resistance is measured on a scale between 1 and 4 which is done by determining the amount of force (in Newton) that is required to tear the glove.
4. Puncture Resistance
The puncture resistance is the measure of how much force the glove can ultimately withstand before it is pierced by a standard sized point. To measure the puncture resistance, a sample glove and the amount of force required to penetrate that glove with a standard sized point is measured. It is important to know that the highest level of puncture resistance may not be safe enough to protect the user against very sharp points such as needles or glass. So one has to be equally careful when operating certain sharp objects with the gloves.
Generally, gloves are normally referred to according to their cut rating alone. For instance, a “Cut 3 glove” or a “Cut 5 Glove” means the resistance level is 3 and 5 respectively. The cut resistance of a level 3 glove is normally accepted as generally safe, but for sheet metals. However, the level 5 cut resistance is referred to as safe when it comes to handling glass. A level 1 cut resistant glove is only ideal for automobiles like mechanics, and other general purposes. You just need to know which cut best suits your operation and select your glove based on that.
EN Standards – What and why?
We really care about EN standards and you will see them mentioned a lot throughout this article. This is because EN standards are very important and can ultimately prevent danger if strictly adhered to.
Essentially, EN standards are a type of quality assurance created by the European Union. Before an item can get an EN rating, it has to be carefully and rigorously tested and ratified by one of these three European Standardization Organizations (ESOs): CEN, CENELEC or ETSI. Now, these three bodies are known to have the kind of technical knowledge required as well as the impartiality to test items accurately and to measure the safety level of anything like safety gloves and much more.
Now, these EN ratings are quite important as they offer a very clear comparison between products of similar use, with the guarantee that they have all been independently tested to the same standards. Now when picking a pair of chainsaw safety gloves, there are three main EN standards that you need to keep in mind. These standards include EN 381-7, EN 388 and EN 420. In the rest of this article, we would be talking more about these standards and how important they are in choosing chainsaw gloves.
● EN 381-7
This is certainly the most important EN standard that is applicable to chainsaw safety gloves. This is because it is mainly designed for suitability test for use with chainsaws. EN 381 not only covers chainsaw safety gloves, but it also covers chainsaw clothing as a whole, with number 7 referring to safety gloves. It is tested in such a way that each glove is put in contact with a moving chain saw running at different speeds until it cuts. This factor then gains the glove a classification. There are different kinds of classifications by which chainsaws are tested. These classes are rated according to the speed of the chainsaw. They are shown below:
- Class 1: 16 m/s chain speed
- Class 2: 20 m/s chain speed
- Class 3: 24 m/s chain speed
- Class 4: 28 m/s chain speed
For these classifications, the higher the class, the better the protection offered by the glove. All chainsaw protection gloves should come with the EN 381-7 standard mark in order to show that they are approved by the EU and have been subjected to the necessary tests.
Also, note that these tests are performed by industry experts under a controlled environment, so do not try to recreate them by yourself.
● EN 388
Another important standard to look out for is EN 388. The EN 388 tests usually test the physical resistance of the glove to common mechanical hazards such as abrasion resistance, cut resistance, puncture resistance, and tear resistance. Often times, operators tend to use chainsaw gloves in all conditions including a harsh environment, so it is of great importance that they are durable enough to withstand all sorts of wear and tear. With an EN 388 rating, this peace of mind is guaranteed.
● EN 420
The final yet equally important EN standard to look out for is EN 420. The EN 420 standard covers basic requirements of chain saw gloves in terms of safety and design, for instance:
- The gloves themselves should not impose a risk or cause injury to the user
- The gloves should have a pH which should be as close to neutral as possible
- In cases where the gloves are leather, the pH should be between 3.5 and 9.5
- Any substances used that may cause allergies to the users should be avoided
Asides these requirements, the EN 420 also ensures that the gloves are manufactured according to an acceptable European common hand size. This is to ensure that there are no discrepancies occurring between different brands or styles of chainsaws. Normally, the sizing is explained in the description of each product.
All the above factors are to be considered before choosing a glove that is suitable for your task. Always ensure that your safety glove adheres to these standards. We hope we have been helpful enough to make a good choice.