Do you want to become an arborist and share your passion and love for trees? If you do, then congratulations. Being an arborist is a positive and rewarding profession; you get to work with trees, help them grow, and heal them when they’re sick.
However, it’s important to understand that being an arborist is challenging and dangerous. That’s because it deals with tree trimming and working in quite unsafe locations which can lead to a range of physical injuries. Workplace hazards include:
- Falling tree branches;
- Getting struck by tree trunks and limbs;
- Getting wounded by chainsaws and other sharp equipment;
- Getting electrocuted from electrical wires; and so on.
So, whether you’re a first-timer or someone with more than a decade of experience, having the right gear is crucial. For those of you who don’t know what these pieces of gear are, this post is for you.
Below are some of the most important protective equipment and tools every arborist must own. Keep on reading to learn more.
1. Tree Climbing Spikes
Tree climbing spikes, also known as gaffs or spurs, are sharp metal spikes that can be attached to your shoes. These will help you climb up and navigate across the tree easily, especially when there’s no natural platform to stand on.
Do keep in mind that tree climbing spikes can damage your trees. Therefore, it’d be best if you use them only when the situation requires, such as:
- You need to remove the entire tree;
- You don’t have any option but to climb up the tree due to its height that not even a lift or ladder can reach;
- Your tree is located near electric cables; and
- Another arborist gets injured while working and needs assistance.
Furthermore, here’s how tree climbing spikes cause irreparable damage to your trees:
- Steel spikes can damage the living tissue underneath the bark of the tree. This area is called the cambium; it produces sap and irregular shoot growth when punctured.
- Steel spikes leave holes that can make your tree prone to insects, pests, and other diseases like cankers and blights.
- Steel spikes can spread the disease of another tree, especially if they’re not properly cleaned after use.
2. Eye Protection
When felling or trimming a tree, it’s important to have something that can protect your eyes from debris and particles everywhere. You can use a face shield, a heavy-duty helmet, or safety glasses to cover your eyes from sawdust scattered in the air.
Without any of these, your eyes are in danger. Either close them while working or take a break and wipe all the dirt off your face. None of these are great, so make sure to wear one before you start working.
Of course, sawdust is just a minor issue during tree trimming. You need to watch for chunks of sharp wood, branches, and twigs that can cause serious eye damage like eye infections and permanent blindness.
3. Ear Protection
Wearing ear protection gear, such as earmuffs and ear plugs, is an inexpensive way to protect your hearing from loud sounds produced when using chainsaws.
Chainsaws can reach up to 120 decibels—if you don’t know how loud it is, think of a concert where people shout and cheer. That’s how loud a chainsaw can be—prolonged exposure may cause damage to your hearing.
4. Head Gear
Wearing gear that protects your head is essential, whether you’re working from the ground or above the tree. This can keep your head protected from falling trunks, limbs, and branches and from falling out of the tree.
Here are the two types of arborist helmets you might want to know:
- Climbing Helmets: These helmets are ideal for tree trimming because they have built-in straps that prevent the helmet from falling off while working.
- Cap-Style Helmets: These helmets can protect you from falling tree branches and debris. However, these may not be the right ones to use when climbing a tree but climbing helmets.
To know whether you’re wearing the right one, check if it complies with the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) or European Standard (EN).
5. Hand Protection
Your hands are the most vulnerable to injuries when trimming or felling a tree. This is why it’s important to use gloves specifically designed for arborists. Doing so can help protect your hands from serious physical injuries, especially when using a chainsaw or other sharp equipment.
Here are the types of gloves an arborist like you might need:
- Climbing Gloves: These gloves have anti-slip properties, helping you climb a tree easily, especially when it’s rainy outside. You can also use these gloves when operating a chainsaw, but make sure it has at least level four ANSI cut protection.
- High-Impact Gloves: These gloves are made with Kevlar (a strong synthetic fabric) and are designed specifically to prevent chainsaw injuries and withstand chainsaw impact. Also, make sure it has at least level four ANSI protection for cuts and punctures.
6. Protective Pants
Protective arborist pants should be tough and thick (multi-layered) but as light and flexible as possible. Much like gloves, your pants should be able to protect your legs and thighs from injuries, especially when working with chainsaws.
Here are some types of arborist pants you might need to wear:
- Chainsaw Pants: As the name implies, these pants are ideal for tasks that require a chainsaw. They’re created with multiple fabric layers to prevent saws from wounding your skin underneath.
- Chainsaw Chaps: These pants are more durable and protective than chainsaw pants. However, they’re not as comfortable as the latter because of the straps that may rub and get stuck on some branches.
Arborist boots protect your feet from falling branches, trunks, twigs, and equipment, particularly chainsaws. That’s why it’s important to ensure you’re wearing a pair of boots specifically designed for arborists at all times.
Here are some things to consider when buying arborist boots:
- They should have a three-quarter to full-length shank for maximum insole and outsole support.
- They should have rubber toecaps with rand for maximum toe protection.
- They should have a quality sole for long-lasting boots.
- They should be lightweight, breathable, and waterproof for maximum comfort.
Being an arborist is dangerous, considering the tree’s height and the equipment you need to use, particularly when it comes to chainsaws. That said, it’s important to have a complete set of arborist gear to protect yourself from various injuries while working. These include boots, gloves, glasses, earmuffs, pants, chaps, and helmets. Lastly, don’t forget to purchase only those made with high-quality materials to ensure your protection while working.
Article Submitted By Community Writer