Wood chippers can help you get rid of unwanted brush much more quickly than hauling it away or burning it. Chipping your brush and debris also keeps you from having the environmental impact that burning causes. You can also use the mulch that the chipper creates and save money on purchasing mulch for your landscaping projects. While different sizes of wood chippers are available, they are all constructed similarly, with a chute that leads to rotating blades. It is not surprising that injuries can result from improper use of a wood chipper, including minor injuries like cuts and scrapes, but also serious injuries like amputation and even death.
Here are some things you should know before renting wood chippers:
- Find out about the safety features of the specific wood chipper you will be using. Know where the emergency stop controls are located and the meaning of any safety decals, as well as the location and purpose of any safety guards.
- Gather your personal protection equipment (PPE) before operation, including tight-fitting clothing, a hardhat, eye and ear protection, non-slip shoes or boots and close-fitting gloves with no cuffs.
- Never disable any safety features, even if you find them irritating during operation. They are there for your safety.
- Never reach into the chipper with your hands or feet. If you are feeding debris in, use a wooden push paddle or stick— not something made of metal.
- Always inspect the unit before use, as well as the work-site.
- Know operating procedures, how to feed the chipper safely and how to position your body during use.
- Don’t operate wood chippers when you are by yourself.