Why is PPE so important in the industry?

Written by Arborists for Arborists.

We all know how easy it is to think ‘this will only take a minute’, or ‘it’s just one branch’ at the end of a day when you’re tired, ready for a warm cuppa and a well earned sit down. That’s when it happens – disaster strikes. You’ve had an accident, all because you thought you could get away with not wearing PPE. 

PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) is one of the most basic safety aspects in our industry and we often overlook its importance. For me, in all aspects of my work (not just tree work), PPE is an integral part of my kit. 

Let’s start from the feet up – chainsaw boots, they keep our toes intact and offer ankle support on those long days. It is paramount that we look after our bodies, by choosing the right boot and having the perfect fit – it stops any intrusive thoughts about wearing your comfy non protective shoes. 

Next up we have our trusty chainsaw trousers; now these really do come in all shapes and sizes from Class A for ground work and Class C for climbers! They can be hot and heavy and we find ourselves sweating in places we didn’t even realise was possible, but they really do save lives and stop catastrophic injuries, especially given one of the bodies main arteries runs through the leg! 

Hands – it’s not secret that our hands take a battering, we use them the most so we need to keep them safe, whether that be with thin skin tight gloves with enough protection to dampen the burn of lowering and rigging ropes, or our chainsaw gloves which are a bit more sturdy and give us more reassurance. 

Lastly, and arguably the most important aspect of PPE: protective headwear. There are a diverse range of helmets and one brand of helmet may not fit all, which is why it’s a great to shop around and see what you feel most comfortable in. We can alter these helmets, with add ons like eyewear, and personalised spec ear defenders for different areas of our job. While we love to look cool, or like we’ve just jumped out of a power rangers movie, they are the ultimate protection in many industries to not only save our lives but also our dashingly good looks! 

On a serious note, PPE should take priority on our kit list, it should be looked after and well inspected; it’s not good enough just to have it to tick a box otherwise there really is no point in wearing it! We should be setting the example for people coming into the industry. No matter how small the task is, if you need PPE for it you SHOULD absolutely be wearing it.

Written by Molly May – Honey Collective

PPE in the Winter Months

Guide to Hi Viz and it’s importance. 

I’m climbing most of the time but road sites need to be set out before any work can start plus, as many of you will know, drivers are in a whole different world when they are on their way to and from work.

Clothing needs to comply with protective clothing regulations and it’s better to be seen than not. 

On roads when setting out signs your Hi Viz should have reflective strips across the torso and the arms. So I’ve normally got an Arbortec Smock or Harkie Smock in the Van, which are easy to throw on. 

Once the work site is safe and work commences a simple Stihl, Husqvarna, Stein or Tree Hog breathable t-shirt are brilliant, as long as they have the reflective strip on the torso.

When there’s big machinery around it’s easy to become complacent and get in the way of the operator, by having a good Hi Viz it makes it easier for them to see you.

If you choose to get a black helmet, think about can I be seen from above?

Hi Viz is essential as we go into these darker months, if it’s on roads, back gardens, parks, forests or even yards be seen. By being seen, accidents are reduced, and people get home safely. 

Written by Ben Connon – Honey Collective

PPE clothing is very important in these darker winter months.

I work a lot with the railway and clearing roads. It is then super important to have clothes that everyone can see.

On the railway, both the safety manager, the trains and everyone we work with must see each other. So reflective on trousers and upper body is important to achieve visibility.

Along the way, it is also very important. Dark days and reflectors are the perfect combination so cars can see you.

I myself wear my PPE visibility clothes almost all the time. Especially jacket, t-shirt and sweater .

Everyone is important and that’s why PPE is a must have in the industry.

Written by Catherine Kåsen – Honey Collective

Words of Wisdom by the Hottinger Brothers.

Joe – It’s worth spending on PPE that fits well and is comfortable. If you’re a 5 day a week arborist, your going to be in your PPE more than any other clothes and boots that you own! 

Leon – Importance of checking PPE for minor damage. For example, getting on top of rips and holes in trousers early before they snowball into bigger problems

Ethan – Check the water repellence of your rainwear, you can normally tell by how the water beads run off the garment rather than being absorbed. This is especially important with Gore-Tex jackets as it can also affect breathability. Due to the nature of our job, the water repellence factor of a garment can wear a lot quicker than with normal use, check more often than what manufacturer recommends. 

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