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 can work with the trees, help them grow and heal them when they are sick.

However, it is important to understand that being an arborist is challenging and dangerous. This is because it deals with tree trimming and working in quite dangerous places, which can lead to a number of physical injuries. Workplace hazards include:

  • Falling tree branches;
  • Hitting tree trunks and branches;
  • Getting wounds from chainsaws and other sharp equipment;
  • Electric shock from electric wires; and so on.

So whether you’re a first timer or someone with over a decade of experience, having the right gear is critical. For those of you who don’t know what these parts are, this post is for you.

Below are some of the most important safety gear and tools that every carpenter should own. Continue reading to learn more.

1. Spikes for climbing trees

Spikes for climbing trees, also known as cleats or spurs, are sharp metal spikes that can be attached to your shoes. They will help you climb and navigate through the tree easily, especially when there is no natural platform to stand on.

Note that tree climbing spikes can damage your trees. Therefore, it would be best to use them only when the situation calls for it, such as:

  • You must remove the entire tree;
  • You have no option but to climb the tree due to its height, which even an elevator or ladder cannot reach;
  • Your tree is located near electrical cables; and
  • Another arborist is injured on the job and needs help.

Also, here’s how climbing spikes cause irreparable damage to your trees:

  • Steel spikes can damage the living tissue under the tree’s bark. This area is called the cambium; produces sap and uneven shoot growth when punctured.
  • Steel spikes leave holes that can make your tree susceptible to insects, pests and other diseases such as canker and blight.
  • Steel spikes can spread the disease to another tree, especially if not properly cleaned after use.

2. Eye protection

During felling or tree trimming, it is important to have something that can protect your eyes from debris and particles everywhere. You can use a face shield, heavy helmet, or safety glasses to protect your eyes from airborne chips.

Without either, your eyes are in danger. Either close them while you work or take a break and wipe all the dirt off your face. Neither one is great, so be sure to wear one before you start work.

Of course, sawdust is only a minor problem when trimming trees. You should watch out for sharp pieces of wood, branches and twigs that can cause serious eye damage such as eye infections and permanent blindness.

3. Ear protection

An arborist cuts branches with a chainsaw on a tree tied with ropes.

Wearing ear protection, such as earmuffs and earplugs, is an inexpensive way to protect your hearing from the loud sounds produced when using chainsaws.

Chainsaws can reach up to 120 decibels – if you don’t know how loud that is, think of a concert where people are shouting and cheering. That’s how loud a chainsaw can be – prolonged exposure can damage 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 protect your head from falling trunks, limbs and branches and from falling out of the tree.

Here are the two types of arborist helmets you may want to know about:

  • Climbing Helmets: These helmets are ideal for tree trimming because they have built-in straps that prevent the helmet from falling while working.
  • Hat Style Helmets: These helmets can protect you from falling tree branches and debris. However, they may not be the right ones to use when climbing a tree, but climbing helmets.

To know if you’re wearing the right one, check if it meets the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) or the European standard (EN).

5. Hand protection

Up close.  The hands of an unrecognizable lumberjack with a chainsaw cuts a tree.

Your hands are most vulnerable to injury when trimming or felling a tree. That’s why it’s important to use gloves specifically designed for arborists. This can help protect your hands from serious physical injury, 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 that help you climb a tree easily, especially when it’s rainy outside. You can also use these gloves when working with a chainsaw, but make sure it has at least a level four ANSI cut protection.
  • Impact resistant gloves: These gloves are made of Kevlar (a tough 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

Arborist protective pants should be strong and thick (multi-layered), but as light and flexible as possible. Like gloves, your pants should be able to protect your legs and thighs from injury, especially when working with chainsaws.

Here are some types of arborist pants you may need to wear:

  • Chainsaw Pants: As the name suggests, these pants are perfect for jobs that require a chainsaw. They are created with multiple layers of fabric to prevent your skin from being injured by saws underneath.
  • Chainsaw Chaps: These pants are more durable and protective than chainsaw pants. However, they are not as comfortable as the latter due to the straps that can rub and get stuck in some branches.

7. Boots

Unrecognizable woodcutter with chainsaw preparing to cut down a tree.  A tree surgeon, an arborist who will climb a tree, placing a harness to reduce and cut its branches.

Arborist boots protect your feet from falling branches, logs, twigs and equipment, especially chainsaws. That’s why it’s important to make sure 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 grip for maximum insole and outsole support.
  • They should have rubber toe caps for maximum toe protection.
  • They should have a quality sole for long lasting boots.
  • They should be light, breathable and waterproof for maximum comfort.

Closing words

Being an arborist is dangerous given the height of the tree and the equipment you have to use, especially when it comes to chain saws. However, it is important to have a complete set of arborist equipment to protect yourself from various injuries while working. These include boots, gloves, goggles, earmuffs, pants, hats and helmets. Finally, be sure to buy only those made of high-quality materials to ensure protection while working.

Article submitted by a community writer

7 Must-Have Pieces of Gear Every Arborist Must Own