Knocks to the head on a busy site can come from falling and flying objects or accidental bumps, and are likely to cause potentially life-threatening injuries. This is why safety helmets, which are suitable for all the hazards present, are essential for reducing the risk of knocks, scrapes and serious injury.
A requirement for those working in a wide range of industries, they’re able to protect against a wide range of potential hazards.
Choosing the right safety helmet is an important decision to ensure you’re sufficiently protected, as well as selecting the right colours to identify a worker’s position and qualification.
FIRE EXTINGUISHERS, ALARMS, SIGNS & SAFETY EQUIPMENT
What Are The Hazards?
In order to select the appropriate head protection, you first need to identify all of the possible risks which workers will encounter as they work on site and the relevant standards which must be met.
As an example, a bump cap will not protect a wearer from falling objects but does provide enough protection to avoid injury from knocking your head on a pipe as you walk past.
In most instances, a safety helmet will be more than suitable. However, they have a range of other features which you will also need to consider.
Some helmets are made from a lighter material, which is a more comfortable choice for prolonged use.
For added comfort, they may also have ventilation to provide a cooling flow of air, as well as some kind of cradle to ensure the helmet is secure on the wearer’s head. And for more physical work, having a sweatband may also be an advantage.
When upward visibility is a requirement, you can also choose a hard hat or bump cap which has a reduce peak size.
What Are The Standards?
It’s vital that you meet the standards for the specific risks which are present on site, as that gives you peace of mind that you have done everything within your power to keep yourself, or workers, safe.
When it comes to the demands of being on an industrial or construction site, the EN 397 standard specifies the minimum physical performance requirements of safety helmets.
In order to carry this approval, the head protection would have undergone intense testing.
Standard EN 1452 builds on this to include impact protection to the front, sides and rear of the head, rather than just from above. Plus, retention systems such as headbands and chin straps will have also been performance tested.
Helmets complying with EN 50365 are electrically insulated for use on low voltage installations and will state which voltage they are able to protect from short-term, accidental contact with electrical conductors.
Or, when it says -30°C, you know the helmet will still provide protection at low temperatures.
LD states that the helmet provides some resistance to lateral compressive (non-impact) loads, while MM means it will withstand molten metal splashes.
Mountaineers will require a helmet which complies with standard EN 12492 to ensure it doesn’t let you down, and standard EN 12899 is for reflectivity.
Industrial bump caps have to comply with standard EN 812 and give protection against bumps caused by walking into hazardous protections and prevents scrapes. The benefit of these is that they manage to provide some protection whilst looking like an ordinary baseball cap.