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Hard Hat Awareness Week – Workers Urged to Check Head Protection

Hard Hat Awareness Week – Workers Urged to Check Head Protection
17 June 2021
 

Research shows that 20 per cent of all fatal and non-fatal injuries in the UK are head-related, yet head protection accounts for only three per cent of personal protective equipment purchases.

Arco, Headway and Centurion are bringing head injury to the forefront of workplace safety for Hard Hat Awareness Week.

When head protection is acquired, nearly a quarter of workers are unaware that exceeding the expiry date of a hard hat can reduce its protective qualities. 

Any kind of head injury can lead to debilitating and long-term health issues, so ensuring that head protection is worn and cared for correctly is critical in preventing life-changing injuries.

 

Applying Stickers or Decals to Helmets Decreases Durability

 

Helmet shells are designed to be shock absorbent; however, the material properties used to protect workers can also be sensitive to chemical attack. More than half of workers mark or apply decals and labels to their helmet, unknowingly decreasing its durability by compromising the integrity of the material it is made from. To maintain safety standards, workers should remove any unchecked stickers and sanitise and clean their head protection equipment in a safe environment. Additionally, workers should audit their safety helmet or hard hat for signs of wear and tear and make sure it is in date.

Most manufacturers recommend replacing hard hats every five years regardless of external appearance. However, excessive wear and tear in extreme environments such as exposure to high temperatures, chemicals, or sunlight can significantly shorten the product's life span. When evaluating a time frame for safe usage, workers should conduct risk assessments to consider their unique environment.

 

EN 397 Standard 

 

Workers should also consider the daily hazards they face in the workplace. The European Standard for industrial safety helmets is EN 397, which provides shock absorption, penetration resistance and protection against impact. An EN 397 helmet is most suitable for workers on the ground, while those working at height should look for additional protection, opting for an EN 12492 helmet.

Alex Turgoose, PPE Product and Procurement Manager at Arco, said, “We are passionate about raising awareness of the correct use of safety equipment. Head injuries are a major problem in the workplace. When selecting head protection, take it seriously, and consider the impact of incorrect choices.”

Chris Tidy, Technical and Training Specialist at Centurion Safety Products, added, “We hope that Hard Hat Awareness Week will initiate a shift in attitudes towards hard hat safety and the wider issue of brain health.”

Peter McCabe, Chief Executive of Headway the brain injury association, said, “Brain injury is more common than you think, and its impact can be life-changing for the injured person, their partner, family members and friends. Ensuring your head protection is worn and cared for correctly is key to remaining safe.”

 

Key Brain Injury Facts

 

  1. Acquired brain injury (ABI) is an umbrella term for any injury to the brain sustained since birth, excluding neurodegenerative conditions.

  2. The most common forms of ABI are traumatic brain injury (TBI) and stroke. Other causes include brain tumour, meningitis, aneurysm, haemorrhage, encephalitis, anoxia, and other conditions.

  3. The brain controls everything we do and brain injury can affect every aspect of who we are. The physical, cognitive, emotional and behavioural effects of ABI can have devastating consequences for individuals and their families.

  4. There were 348,934 UK admissions to hospital with acquired brain injury in 2013-14. That is 566 admissions per 100,000 of the population.

  5. ABI admissions in the UK increased by 10 per cent between 2005-6 and 2013-14.

  6. There were approximately 956 ABI admissions per day to UK hospitals in 2013-14 – or one every 90 seconds.

  7. In 2013-14, there were 162,544 admissions for head injury. That equates to 445 every day, or one every three minutes.

  8. Men are 1.6 times more likely than women to be admitted for head injury. However, female head injury admissions have risen 24 per cent since 2005-6.

  9. In 2013-14, there were 130,551 UK admissions for stroke. That is an increase of 9 per cent since 2005-6 and equates to one every four minutes.

 Picture: a photograph of a person wearing a hard hat, hi-vis jacket and ear protectors whilst working on a railway

Article written by Ella Tansley | Published 17 June 2021

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