Safety tips when using chipper shredder machines

Gloves can protect your hands when using garden chippersJust like other power tools, extreme caution must be maintained when using gas-powered and electric chipper shredder machines. The blades inside a chipper shredder can spin at over 1,000 rpm with hundreds of pounds of force. Being prepared with proper use and safety information is important to your personal safety and continued enjoyment of your chipper shredder.

Below are 10 important safety tips to follow when you are using a chipper shredder.

  1. Read the manual
    Before using any chipper shredder, make sure you read the manual to learn about how to properly operate all the functions and know the limitations of the machine.  Take special note to where the safety switch is and how to turn off the machine in case of emergency.
  2. Inspect your chipper shredder
    Before and after you use your machine, inspect all the parts to ensure everything is clean and in proper working condition.  If  any parts show excessive wear, bolts are loose or blades are dull, make sure to fix the issues before using your chopper shredder.
  3. Wear proper attire
    It’s a good idea to wear tight fitting clothing, tie back long hair (or wear a hat) and avoid wearing jewelery.  Doing so will help to ensure a loose item doesn’t get pulled into the chipper shredder mechanism while you are working.
  4. Use protective gear
    No matter how macho you think you are, damaging your eyesight, hearing or lungs is just not worth it and a stray piece of debris to an unprotected eye could mean a trip to the emergency room.

    Goggles or face shield
    – protecting your eyes should be a top priority.  Make sure you get on that is approved for fast moving debris and that you wear them at all times when operating the chipper.

    – high quality leather or synthetic gloves help to avoid injury to your hands.  Pro tip:  If possible, use bright-colored gloves so you can always see exactly where your hands are in relation to the chipper shredder mechanism.

    Ear plugs or other ear protection
    – especially with gas powered chipper shredders, long term exposure to the loud noise can damage your hearing.

    Dust mask or respirator
    – when using your chipper shredder with dry wood and leaves, there will be a lot of dust and tiny particles in the air.

    Work boots
    – ensuring  you have secure footing will help to avoid accidents.

    You can find great deals on all types of protective gear at

  5. Clean & Maintain Make sure you follow the manufacturer’s guidelines for cleaning and maintaining your chipper shredder.
  6. Keep children away Never allow children to use the equipment or be near the area.
  7. Use a feeding tool
    Use an appropriate feeding tool or piece of debris to feed material into the chopper shredder feeding chute.  Sometimes feeding speeds can change quickly and you don’t want your hands or arms to get pulled in.  Additionally, if your machine jams (which it will at some point, especially with electric garden chippers), make sure you switch off the machine and follow all safety protocols to clear the jam.
  8. Work environment
    Wet and windy weather can be a recipe for disaster.   Never operate your electric chipper shredder in the rain or where it could fall into water.  If using a gas chipper shredder, make sure you are in a open area with proper ventilation.  Also, make sure your garden chipper is on a solid surface where it cannot easily tip over.
  9. Partner
    Having a helper is much safer since your partner can watch for children and keep a second eye on the work environment and equipment.
  10. Stay Alert
    Never operate chipper shredders (or any other machinery for that matter) if you have been drinking alcohol or taking any medicine or other drugs that may impair your abilities. Things can and do go wrong. You need to be alert and in control to make sure that you’re not putting yourself or others at risk.

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