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Chainsaw Protective EN381 Standards

The EN381 series of standards cover the testing of chainsaw protective clothing and equipment, and has several parts:

EN381-1 identifies requirements for the test equipment and covers the basic design of the chainsaw cut test rig plus other details such as the methods of calibration.

EN381-2 & EN381-5 cover the testing and requirements for leg protectors

EN381-3 covers the testing for chainsaw boots and footwear, and the requirements for chainsaw protective are contained in EN ISO 17249:2004

EN381-4 & EN381-7 cover the testing and requirements for chainsaw gloves and hand protectors

EN381-8 & EN381-9 cover the testing and requirements for gaiters

EN381-10 & EN381-11 covers the testing and requirements for upper body protectors.

The basic requirements for any product offering protection against cutting by a chainsaw are that:

-- The product offers sufficient coverage of the body

-- The material for clothing items does not shrink excessively when washed

-- The materials and construction can resist cutting by a chainsaw at speeds of between 16 m/s and 32 m/s.

-- The seams holding the products together have sufficient strength.

Chainsaw Protection Classification

Items which resist cutting at 16 m/s are classified as Class 0, which is the typical level selected for hand protectors, gloves, upper body protectors and gaiters. It is generally the case that to obtain higher performance levels, for upper body protectors for example, so many layers of protective material are required that the garment becomes too uncomfortable for continuous wear.

For leg protectors, the lowest allowable level of protection is Class 1, which resists cutting at up to 20 m/s.

Chainsaw protective products of class 2 or class 3 are tested at (a chainsaw chain speed of) 24 m/s and 28 m/s respectively.

ClassMax Chain Speed (m/s)

Chainsaw cut testing is carried out on between 4 and 8 specimens, depending on the type of product being tested. Typically, chainsaw trousers are tested by cutting the legs of three pairs if they are type A, or four pairs if they are type C (see "Type A or Type C, what's the difference?" for explanation). No test specimen can be cut tested more than once, although trousers and upper body protectors are regarded as consisting of two test specimens (e.g. right leg / arm & left leg /arm).

With the exception of the requirements for chainsaw footwear, which are now in a new standard, the other standards for chainsaw protective equipment have existed for between 4 and 12 years, although a review of these standards is planned by the European standards organisation, CEN.

View Type A chainsaw trousers | View Type C chainsaw trousers | View chainsaw boots

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