In many situations, such as working on a construction site, it is a requirement to wear suitable head protection such as an EN397 industrial Safety Helmet.
At this time of year we start to see a large number of workers wearing their hoodies or beanie hats under their safety helmets to keep them warm. This not only endangers themselves by compromising the fit of the helmet, but also endangers others if the helmet were to fall off of their head from a height.
When visiting a construction site we were fortunate enough (or unfortunate enough) to witness and catch on camera the dangers of wearing a hoody or beanie under your safety helmet. Below are a series of pictures that clearly illustrate the dangers.
A construction worker wearing a hoody underneath his safety helmet.
2. Because of the hoody, the poorly fitting helmet falls easily from his head.
3. He drops what he is doing, in an attempt to catch the helmet.
4. The helmet falls several floors to ground level endangering anyone below.
What were the effects of this?
Luckily in the situation above nobody was passing below when the safety helmet fell. If someone had been hit, because of the height , even wearing head protection themselves – they could have been severely injured. Without realising it the individual wearing the hoody affected the safety of himself and others in many ways.
Narrows his field of vision, increasing chance of collision with machinery and other dangers
Exposed his own head, placing himself in danger of a head injury
Dropped what he was holding by reacting to catch the falling safety helmet. This could have injured his colleague who was assisting him, or the object could have fallen with the helmet.
Endangered individuals passing below with the falling helmet.After the event the worker collected his helmet from the fall and placed it back onto his head. This was a big mistake as after closer inspection the long drop had caused a crack in the safety helmet, compromising the protection it provides. We must also mention that the worker had to walk down several floors of the construction site in order to retrieve the helmet without any head protection.
A safety helmet is designed to withstand a single lifesaving impact. Any significant knock to the helmet even falling from the wearers head, should result in the replacement of the helmet. A worker is by far the most valuable commodity on the site and safety should never be compromised.
What does the HSE say about suitable head protection?
The HSE lists the following when referring to suitable head protection.
Head protection should:
Be in good condition. If it is damaged, throw it away
Fit the person wearing it and be worn properly
Not stop wearing hearing protectors as well (when needed)
Only be obtained from a reputable supplier – there are fake hard hats on the marketFAQ:Why is it bad to wear a hoody or beanie under a safety helmet?
By wearing a hoody/beanie (or other winter hat) under your safety helmet, you are interfering with the fit of the harness. Wearing anything underneath the helmet means that it cannot be fitted, adjusted or worn to the manufacturers safety requirements, putting yourself and others in danger.A hoody also reduces your field of vision. This greatly increases the chance of an accident as the wearer may be unaware of oncoming plant machinery, trip or fall hazards or other individuals working.
What can we safely wear to keep our heads warm on site?
As a manufacturer of industrial head protection we advise that best practice would be to only use manufacturer approved head warmers under your safety helmet. This will ensure you receive the best possible fit for your safety helmet without compromising on safety.
Why should I not wear a baseball cap under my safety helmet?
Many caps can feature a metal ‘button’ on the top. This small piece of metal could increase the chance of electrical currents passing through the shell of your safety helmet and forfeiting any electrical standards that it may adhere to.We hope that you have found this information useful.
If you would like any further advise on this subject, then feel free to contact the team at JSP® Ltd:
Telephone: +44 01993 826050
Thank you to Paul Johnson (Group HSEQT Director for Careys PLC) for allowing us to use the images of this incident that we captured whilst visiting one of their sites.