5 Essential Wood Chipper Safety Tips
A wood chipper, also known as a tree chipper, is a useful machine if you want to reduce timber into small bits. The machine utilizes an internal combustion engine which may be fueled by gasoline or natural gas. It is a handy aid especially when you need to clean up your yard after the winter season when many trees shed their material. A chipper will save you from the time and effort required if you were to transport the dead tree material to a local landfill. The shredded material can be used as mulch for your garden. To use a wood chipper isn’t all that difficult. However, given the heavy-duty nature of work involved, it pays to practice some safety measures.
Material to be Chipped
Strive to feed small bits of debris into the chipper. Excessive size of wood and other material increases the risk of injuries. Blunt force trauma is a common incident associated with large bits of debris. The chipper blades move at an extremely high speed. The high speed may discharge bits of material that may land on you with severe impact. This can result in grave injuries. Always inspect the material to be chipped before you feed into the chipper. It should be free of stones, metal or other hard objects. These can easily cause a machine jam. They may also be discharged from the machine and cause injuries if they land on your body.
How to Feed the Chipper
Use a long twig or pole to feed material directly into the chipper. This will ensure that your hands are a safe distance away from the machine. Close contact with the machine increases the possibility of an accident. Be careful to avoid the feed chute area. A moment of distraction could find you get pulled into the machine. Feed leaves and smaller tree parts into the transport compartment.
Tuck Away all Clothing
Loose clothing can cause you to get jammed in the machine. Do not wear baggy clothes when you have to operate a chipper. Avoid cuffs that hang, jewelry items that dangle, loose belts or other items that have the potential to get caught in the machine. Should such a jam occur, you may be pulled into the machine and get strangled or crushed.
Wear Protective Items
You need to protect your eyes, ears, head and feet when at work with a shredder. Wear safety goggles and ear protection. The machine works at high speed and there’s always the possibility that fine particles and debris will fly about. The goggles will keep bits of debris from your eyes. Ear plugs are helpful due to the high volume of noise while the machine is in operation. However, chippers with the clutch facility are generally quieter. You also need to wear a hard hat. This will protect your head from the impact of any flying splinters and debris. Wear steel toed safety boots for greater safety to your feet.
Clean as You Chip
Lots of debris will gather on the ground around the chipper. It is a good idea to clean up regularly while the chipper works. This will help to prevent slips and falls around the machine.