What are the best chainsaw trousers ?

Chainsaw Trousers Review 

So with so many types of trousers on the market you first need to decide what class of trousers you need AFAG recommend Type C as offering the best protection. Type A may be appropriate if justified within the risk assessment. 

So then you have a huge choice of colour materials and brand names. 

What are the most popular chainsaw trouser brands? 

Well by volume of sales they probably include the following four safety trouser brands:

Best technical safety trousers are often driven by smaller specialist manufacturers like: 

How to choose a chainsaw trouser? 

Well your biggest hurdle might be finding the right ones. Your selection may be limited to what is available local store STIHL and Arbortec probably have the best UK retail network so you are more likely to be able to find the size you want to try on. Brands like Pfanner and Engleburt Strass tend to be available at the more specialist arboricultural suppliers. 

Finding Professional Chainsaw Trousers 

What we mean is anyone using a chainsaw daily might want to spend a little more to get a more durable trouser produced from a myriad of materials to increase durability and comfort when worn. You will also need to ask yourself "Will I be mostly on the ground or climbing in a tree? " and do I need to be highly visible at work? 

Best Hi Viz Chainsaw Trousers 

All offer a range of High Visibility Chainsaw Clothing that may be suitable for Highways or Rail Network use. The HSE reported 20 fatalities for road workers struck by vehicles in 2022-23. Within Greater London New Civil Engineers recorded 364 injuries and fatalities to road workers in the period 2012-2021 so the use of High Visibility Clothing if you are going to be working in or on the highway is highly recommended. 

Chainsaw Trouser History

Chainsaw trousers, also known as chainsaw chaps or chainsaw protective pants, have an interesting history rooted in the development of safety equipment for logging and forestry work. Here's a brief overview of their evolution:

Early Logging Practices

Early Logging Era (Pre-20th Century)

  • Logging was primarily done with hand tools such as axes and saws.
  • Protective clothing was minimal, as the tools used posed a lower risk of severe injury when compared to modern chainsaws.

Introduction of Chainsaws

Early Chainsaw History (1920s-1950s)

  • The first chainsaws were introduced in the 1920s and 1930s, but they were heavy, cumbersome, and typically operated by two people.
  • Safety equipment specifically for chainsaw use was not yet developed. Loggers wore regular work clothes, which provided little protection from chainsaw injuries.

Development of Chainsaw Safety Clothing 

Rise of Safety Awareness (1960s-1970s)

  • Chainsaws became more efficient, lighter, and could be operated by a single person. This increased their use and the associated risks.
  • The increased incidence of chainsaw injuries led to a greater focus on safety. Initial safety gear included helmets, gloves, and boots, but there was still no specialized leg protection.

Introduction of Chainsaw Protective Trousers

Invention of Chainsaw Trousers (Late 1970s-1980s)

  • Recognizing the need for better protection, manufacturers began developing safety trousers designed to protect against chainsaw cuts.
  • Early versions were bulky, hot and uncomfortable but did provide essential protection to workers

Advancements in Chainsaw Blocking Material Technology (1990s)

  • Advances in materials science led to the development of more effective and comfortable chainsaw trousers.
  • Modern chainsaw trousers typically use multiple layers of specialized fabrics, such as Kevlar, ballistic nylon, or other high-strength fibres. These layers are designed to deploy and clog the chainsaw chain to reduce injury.

Why use Chainsaw Trousers?

Current Standards and Innovations (2000s-Present)

  • Chainsaw trousers have become industry standard safety equipment for most professional arborist, tree surgeons and forestry workers and are now required by safety regulations in many countries.
  • Innovations continue to improve comfort, durability, and protection. Features in some models now include breathable fabrics, ergonomic designs, and better ventilation and moisture management.
  • Standards such as those from OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) in the U.S. or the European EN 381 standards ensure that chainsaw trousers meet specific safety requirements. It is worth noting that these standards are based on quite slow chain speeds so injuries may still occur. 

Impact on Safety

Reduction in Injuries

  • The introduction and widespread adoption of chainsaw trousers have significantly reduced the number and severity of leg injuries in the arboricultural and forestry industries.
  • Safety campaigns and regulations continue to promote workers' use of P.P.E, including chainsaw trousers, as essential for anyone operating a chainsaw.

In summary, driven by the use of chainsaws, chainsaw trousers have evolved from non-existent to highly specialised protective equipment over the past century. Today, they are a critical component of personal protective equipment (PPE) for anyone working with chainsaws.

How are Chainsaw Trousers Tested? 

Chainsaw trousers are tested using standardized methods to ensure they provide adequate protection to users in the event of accidental contact with a chainsaw. The testing processes are rigorous and adhere to specific standards set by regulatory bodies. Here’s an overview of how chainsaw trousers are typically tested:

Testing Standards

The main standards for testing chainsaw trousers include:

  • EN 381 (Europe): This is the European standard for protective clothing for users of hand-held chainsaws.
  • ASTM F1897 (USA): This is the American standard specification for leg protection for chain saw users.

Testing Procedure

The testing of chainsaw trousers generally involves the following steps:

  • Sample Preparation
  • A sample of the combined fabric from the trousers is prepared according to the specific requirements of the standard being tested.
  • Chainsaw Setup
  • A chainsaw test rig is set up for the trial, including fitting it with a specific type of chain and bar. The chainsaw speed and chain type are often specified by the test standards.
  • Simulated Impact
  • The trousers are subjected to a simulated chainsaw impact. This can be done using a test rig that holds the chainsaw in place and applies it to the fabric layers at a controlled speed and force.
  • Detection of Cut-through
  • The test measures whether the chainsaw cuts through the fabric layers. Sensors or visual inspections determine if the chainsaw has penetrated the protective layers.
  • Cut Resistance
  • The trousers are tested for their cut resistance. This involves assessing whether the layers of protective material effectively prevent the chainsaw from cutting through to the inner layers.

Clog Test

A key feature of chainsaw trousers is their ability to clog the chainsaw chain and stop it from rotating. The test evaluates how quickly and effectively the trousers' fibres clog the chainsaw chain, causing it to stop.

Specific Tests

The specific tests conducted include:

  • Speed Test:

    • The trousers are tested at various chain speeds to ensure they provide protection at different operational speeds of chainsaws.
  • Position Test:

    • The chainsaw trousers are tested in various positions to mimic real-world scenarios, such as frontal impact, side impact, and rear impact.
  • Durability Test:

    • The durability of the trousers is tested to ensure they can withstand wear and tear from regular use and still provide adequate protection.

Certification and Approval

Once the trousers pass all required tests, they receive certification indicating they meet the relevant safety standards. This certification is typically displayed on the trousers to inform users of their compliance with safety regulations.

Continuous Improvement

Manufacturers continually test new materials and designs to improve the effectiveness and comfort of chainsaw trousers. This ongoing testing and development ensure that chainsaw trousers evolve to provide better protection with advancements in technology and materials.

By adhering to these rigorous testing procedures and standards, chainsaw trousers are validated to offer reliable protection for chainsaw users, significantly reducing the risk of severe injury.