Every arborist and tree worker needs to have the proper personal protection equipment (PPE). The following are the basics that you should purchase for your own use.


A helmet may be the single most important piece of safety equipment that an arborist can purchase. Make sure the helmet you choose has a close-fitting chin strap and that the helmet can be adjusted to fit your head snugly. Don't cut corners with a hard hat, as these don't fit as well, and they can be more easily knocked askew when working in a tree compared to an actual arborist helmet.


Most arborist work around loud equipment, including handheld tools like chainsaws and large machinery like stump grinders. Failure to protect your ears can lead to hearing loss. Earplugs can work in a pinch, but a more effective option is to get noise-blocking muffs made for those that work around loud equipment all day. There are models that are made to work with your helmet so that they can be worn with comfort.


Flying wood chips, sawdust, and poking branches can all lead to an eye injury if you aren't careful, which is why eye protection should also be at the top of your PPE supply list. Some helmets come with built-in visors for eye protection, or you can opt for a separate set of protective glasses. Glare and sunlight can be an issue when working high in a treetop, so consider polarized eye protection to help prevent this problem.


Chipping and sawing result in a lot of fine debris that is often quite damaging to your lungs and upper respiratory system. Many arborists have taken up wearing a respirator when doing cutting or chipping in order to protect their lung health. A small respirator mask, of the type used by carpenters and construction workers, can ensure that you keep your lungs clear of the debris that's naturally in the air during tree work.

Soft Tissue

Soft tissue injuries can be a real concern during tree work. Your hands and legs are probably at the greatest risk. Heavy-duty leather work gloves are preferred by most arborists. Chainsaw chaps are also usually recommended, since it only takes one wayward cut to go deep into a leg when you are bringing down a tree or large branch. Most arborists also invest in heavy work boots, often with steel toes, to protect the feet.

Contact an arborist supply company to learn more.