Head injuries, if serious enough, can lead to severe brain damage and even death. For this reason, anyone who is vulnerable to the risk of head injuries in the workplace must be properly protected.
The use of head protection in the workplace is governed by the Construction (Head Protection) Regulations 1989 and the Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations 1992. Employers who do not comply with the regulations run the risk of severe penalties and costly litigation.
You’ll find that head protection is commonly used in a wide range of industries, including construction, aviation and highway maintenance – and because of the diversity of requirements which each industry demands, there is a range of head protection available.
Our Guide to Head Protection provides detailed information on all the standards but in this blog we provide an overview of what to consider when choosing head protection to keep your employees safe.
Choosing the right protective headwear
Use our helpful checklist of the factors that need to be considered when making an informed decision about the head protection your employees need:
- Step 1 – Risk assessment
Undertake or refer to a recent risk assessment of the workplace environments in which your employees work to assess the hazards.
Hazards relating to head protection include:
– Impact from falling objects
– Impact from fixed objects
– Impact from lateral forces
– Exposure to an open flame
– Exposure to molten metal splash
– Exposure to electric shock
– Exposure to high temperatures
– Exposure to low temperatures
- Step 2: Choose the appropriate head protection
A wide range of head protection is available to meet the needs of various industries, such as:
– Industrial safety helmets
– Industrial bump caps
– Aviation bump caps (including with ear defenders)
– Mountaineering helmets
– High-performance industrial safety helmets
– Electrically insulated helmets
– Welding helmets
In addition, head protection accessories are available, including safety lights, flame-retardant liners, helmet clips for torches, helmet chin straps and chin cups, helmet safety tags, helmet sweatbands and harnesses, and helmet visors and muffs.
- Step 3: Check the relevant industry standards
Head protection must comply with the correct regulations and standards. The main industry standard relating to the use of head protection in the workplace is EN 397:2012+A1:2012. All workplace head protection must be certified to this standard.
There are also a number of standards that apply to certain types of head protection. These are:
– EN 812:2012 for industrial bump caps
– EN 12492:2012 for mountaineering helmets
– EN 14052:2012+A1:2012 for high-performance industrial helmets
– EN 50365:2002 for electrically insulating helmets for use in low-voltage installations
- Step 4: Ensure workplace head protection fits correctly
Safety helmets must always be fitted to the individual wearer’s head to ensure it stays firmly in place. This may involve adjustment of the headband (using a slip-band or a wheel), the height of the helmet and the length of the chinstrap. Manufacturer’s instructions should be available to help you if you require it.
- Step 5: Store and maintain head protection correctly
Head protection has a life cycle of approximately five years, however, excessive wear and tear, and use in extreme environments can significantly shorten it. Head protection should therefore be regularly inspected for scuffs, abrasions and other damage, and wearers should carry out a visual inspection before every use.
Safety headwear should also be kept clean and stored in compliance with the manufacturer’s instructions. For example, safety helmets should be stored far from sources of heat and any chemicals, and should be kept out of direct sunlight.
If an impact occurs, the safety helmet should be replaced immediately.
By using this information and taking these steps, you can ensure that your company is fully compliant with all the relevant industry standards for head protection and that your employees can do their jobs safely, efficiently and to the highest standard.
Contego Safety Solutions stocks a wide range of corporate workwear, protective clothing and PPE, including our WEARMASTER® range. We also provide a bespoke uniform design and manufacturing service to ensure that you get precisely what you are looking for in a company uniform.
The friendly and expert team at Contego Safety Solutions is always on hand to give advice and guidance on the right PPE and protective clothing for your needs. Contact us now on 0800 122 3323 or firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss your requirements.