P91002Personal Protective Equipment. That is what PPE is for. Acronyms can be so vague. PPE could be for Purple People Eater for all we know. That movie just happened to be released to cinema at the end of 1988, just a few months after my summer internship with an exemplary crew of arborists who instructed be about the importance of PPE. I am glad to have missed the movie.

In 1988, the machinery used by arborists as well as lumberjacks was more dangerous, and PPE was more primitive. Hearing protection was only beginning to be standardized. Many of us were not even using it back then, even though the chippers were terrifyingly loud. For some of us, cheap sunglasses sufficed as eye protection. Chaps had been available, but were quite rare.

From the beginnings of their respective careers, younger arborists and lumberjacks learn to use safer machinery and standardized PPE that was still being developed in 1988. Nonetheless, their work is potentially very dangerous. They still work with machines that are designed cut cut down big trees and shred the resulting debris! PPE is just as important now as it ever was.

A notable lack of some of most basic of PPE at a local Lumberjack Contest was difficult to ignore. Even PPE that was unnecessary would have been appropriate for demonstration purposes.

In this picture, a few items of PPE are in order. Chaps were appropriate for bucking, and more than I had access to back in 1988. Boots, which can not be seen in this picture, were adequate. Stylish sunglasses that are also obscured, were likely rated as sufficient for eye protection. There is no need to tuck the shirt in for bucking logs that are stripped of branches that might snag.

What is lacking? Gloves, even for those who do not wear them at work, would have been proper attire for this contest. A hard hat, which is for protection from falling debris, could potentially deflect a kickbacked saw. Hearing protection might have been unnecessary with the fancy and remarkably efficient muffler on this saw; but I actually do not know, (and I saw no earplugs).

6 thoughts on “Horridculture – PPE

  1. We have had a lot of tree work done at the place where I work. There was also a noted lack of safety equipment used by the men doing the work, despite the fact that some were even going up in bucket trucks. Our landscape crew uses more protection than these arborists did. And I did have a few well-meaning folks come to our door, telling me that what they were doing wasn’t right and one even started to spout off, “but it’s against OSHA regulations….”

    And I thought, lady, if you think that I am going to approach a man with a chainsaw and a wood chipper and tell him he’s violating OSHA regulations, you don’t know me. People are well-meaning, but….


    Liked by 1 person

    1. I know the guys at the contest are proficient with their gear at work; but I also see those who prune for utility clearance on the roads around here, and they just don’t care. Their lack of staff to direct traffic past their work zones is appalling, not only because it is unsafe, and not only because they are required to conform to OSHA regulations, but also because I know qualified arborists who did not get get that work because the calculated the cost of traffic control into their bids.


    1. Oh yes. It might not seem like they would, but they give the saw some resistance. It won’t stop the hand within from getting shredded, but it may prevent it from getting cut off completely.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Reblogged this on Tony Tomeo and commented:

    The Lumberjack Contest from which I procured this picture was three years ago, at the Santa Cruz Mountains Harvest Festival. The Santa Cruz Mountains Harvest Festival for this year will be this weekend!


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