Head protection is a type of personal protective equipment (PPE) that protects the scalp and occasionally the jaw. Head protections are not worn over the face. Any piece of equipment that shields the head from burns, trauma, and impact is considered head protection.
Head injuries cause death more often. It is essential to select the appropriate head gear and use it appropriately. A hard hat is a common type of head protection. Testing and performance requirements for industrial hard hats or helmets are provided by the American National Standard for Industrial Head Protection (ANSI/ISEA Z89.1-2014). Optimization for horizontal impact or impact from the top, electrical protection insulation, and heat protection are among the specifications.
These are held in place by supporting straps. Picking suitable head stuff and preparing should be finished after evaluation and security plan.
Importance of Head Protection
Head Protection is an essential component of any safety program because it helps to protect employees from potential head injuries. An employee may suffer a permanent or fatal head injury. One of the easiest ways to keep an employee’s head safe is to wear a hard hat or safety helmet. Employees can be shielded from burn, electrical shock, impact, and penetration hazards with hard hats.
Construction workers, carpenters, electricians, linemen, plumbers and pipefitters, timber and log cutters, and welders are just a few of the jobs that should require employees to wear head protection. You must wear head protection whenever there is a risk of objects falling from above. For instance, when working below others who are using tools or under a conveyor belt. To properly protect employees, hard hats must be worn with the bill facing forward.
In general, hard hats or protective helmets should accomplish the following:
- Avoid being penetrated by objects.
- Take in the impact of a blow.
- Burn slowly and resist water.
- Provide clear instructions on how to adjust and replace the suspension and headband in the right way.
A headband and straps that hold the shell between 1.54 and 1.75 inches (2.54 and 3.18 centimeters) from the head and a hard outer shell and a shock-absorbing lining are compulsory in hard hats. Shock absorption during anti-impact and ventilation during normal wear are provided by this design.
ANSI Standard Z89.1-1986 (Protective Headgear for Industrial Workers) must be met or an equivalent level of protection must be provided by protective headgear. Caps bought before July 5, 1994 should conform to the prior ANSI Standard (Z89.1-1969) or give comparable assurance.
Ten Facts about Head Protection
Head protection is not something that can be tossed around. A worker can be incapacitated for the rest of his life or die from even the most seemingly innocuous head injury. Fortunately, head protection is one of the best ways to safeguard workers from a potentially fatal accident and is simple to obtain and use.
Despite this, most workers who sustained impact injuries to the head did not wear head protection while performing their regular worksite duties, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics research.
As a result, we have compiled a list of ten essential facts about this crucial component of your PPE program.
- Several Jobs Require Head Protection: Workers must wear head protection if any of the following conditions are met:
- They could be struck on the head by falling objects
- They could accidentally come into contact with electrical hazards
Employers should conduct a hazard assessment to ascertain whether or not employees are at risk for any of the aforementioned scenarios and whether or not head protection is required.
- Wearing the wrong kind of hard hat can compromise a worker’s safety because there are two types and three different industrial classes of hard hats. Therefore, it is essential to understand the threats they face and select the appropriate head protection.
- Type I: intended to lessen the force of an impact that only hits the top of the head (such as when a hammer falls from above)
- Type II: intended to lessen the force of a lateral impact from an off-center, side, or top-of-the-head blow (for example, contact with a sharp corner of a side beam)
- Class G: Hard hats for general use that protect against electrical conductors of low voltage (up to 2,200 volts) Protects against high-voltage electrical conductors (up to 20,000 volts) and is geared toward electrical work.
- Class C: Lacks electrical safety and the potential to even conduct electricity.
- Bump hats are used in locations with low head clearance, where workers are susceptible to bumping their heads, even when a hard hat is not required. ANSI has not approved these helmets because they do not protect workers from flying or falling objects. Bump hats provide protection for workers who may not require Type I or II hard hats but still require something because a hard head bump can result in bruising, cuts, and even concussions.
- Sizing is important: Head protection, like all PPE, needs to be tailored to each worker. Headbands on hard hats can be adjusted in increments of 1/8 of an inch, and they come in a variety of sizes.
How can you tell if the fit is right for you? You should leave enough space between the shell and the suspension system for airflow and impact distribution.
- Workers must regularly inspect their hard hats, including the shell, suspension system, and any accessories, to ensure that they function properly. Examine the item for any signs of wear and tear such as holes, cracks, or tears that could compromise its level of protection. If you notice any signs of damage, you should stop wearing that hard hat and tell a supervisor about it.
It is important to inform workers that certain substances may weaken or eliminate the electrical resistance of hard hat shells. Avoid storing protective headgear in direct sunlight such as in a car’s rear window, and keep hard hats away from paint, paint thinners, and cleaning agents whenever possible.
- Many hard hats let you add accessories like earmuffs, safety glasses, face shields, mounted lights, and wide brims to protect your head from the hot sun to help workers deal with challenging (or changing) environmental conditions. Only add accessories to hard hats designed to support them because it is essential to ensure that these accessories do not compromise the hat’s protection.
- Smart hard hats do more than just protect the head. Head protection has kept up with smart PPE’s rapid development. Smart hard hats are capable of more than just head protection. A sweatband that can monitor and collect data such as body temperature, heart rate, and external temperature and humidity is one device that can be retrofitted onto a standard hard hat. The system issues both audible and visual alerts to employees who are at risk for heat-related illness. A more cutting-edge hard hat combines safety and augmented reality, letting the wearer see computer graphics overlaid on top of real-world images. It can even display stored information like safety guidelines and work instructions by using a combination of cameras and sensors to provide the wearer with information about their surroundings.
- Even if there is no visible damage to the hard hat, impact from a falling object could compromise its ability to protect the wearer if the protective headgear is struck. The procedures for dealing with PPE that has been involved in an incident should be outlined in your safety program. It should be taken out of service right away and replaced with equipment that has been checked and found to be safe to use.
- High-Visibility Head Protection Is a Must: If your employees require high-visibility head protection, ensure that the appropriate safety standards are met before making any adjustments to their equipment. Since paint solvents can weaken the shell of hard hats, making them more likely to crack, reflective tape is frequently the best option. Check with the manufacturer if you are unsure of what is permitted.
- Workers Are Helped by Hard Hat Liners in Cold Weather: Hard hats are made to protect workers from impact, but they rarely do much to keep them warm. This lack of cold protection can be made up for with hard hat liners. Workers will be adequately protected from the elements by hard hat liners which come in a variety of designs and cover just the head and ears to nearly the entire face. But make sure that the liner does not stop the hard hat from doing its most important job: avoiding head trauma.
How do you successfully achieve Head Protection?
- Learn about the relevant safety rules and standards that apply to your country or region. Recognize the requirements for scaffold fall protection, including the height limit and the regulations’ specific measures.
- Ensure that all workers involved in the erection, use, and removal of a scaffold receive comprehensive training on fall protection and scaffold safety. They should be aware of the dangers of working at heights and how to use fall protection equipment appropriately.
- Scaffolds should be inspected on a regular basis for any flaws, damage, or potential dangers. Check to see that all parts, like guardrails, toe boards, and access points, are in good working order and up to the standards that are required. Make prompt repairs and maintenance to fix any problems.
- Personal fall arrest system anchor points should be securely fastened to a scaffold component that is structurally sound or to other appropriate anchorages. In the event of a fall, the anchor points ought to be able to withstand the necessary loads.
- Follow the rules when installing toe boards and guardrails on scaffolds. By providing a barrier of protection all around the working platform, these safety barriers assist in preventing falls.
- Regular monitoring and supervision: Ensure that competent supervisors or monitor the use of the head protection gear.