Hard hats and helmets are essential when working near or around potential hazards in the workplace. They are commonly used to protect employees from falling objects, falls, excessive heat, and moving objects and machinery. The head is considered the most fragile part of the body, so every effort should be made to protect workers from occupational head injuries.
However, there are many different styles and types of hard hats and helmets for you to choose from. Use this guide to select the right head protection for your employees.
Hard Hat vs. Helmet
Be aware of the distinction between hard hats and helmets. Some managers and teams may use these terms interchangeably, but they do not refer to the same pieces of equipment.
- A hard hat is simply a hard shell that covers the head of the worker. It’s designed to protect the wearer from falling objects and excessive heat. A hard hat does not come with a chin strap, so they can fall off if the person needs to bend over, reach down, or move their body in different positions.
- A helmet comes with a chin strap, keeping it secure on the person’s head. They are designed to protect workers from a variety of hazards, such as those working in tunnels, manholes, or on elevated surfaces. The helmet should not slide off or move throughout the workday.
When choosing a helmet, you can purchase those with a non-releasing chin strap to make sure the helmet does not fall off. However, you may prefer a helmet with an automatic release to prevent strangulation when working on elevated surfaces.
Qualities to Consider When Looking for Safety Workwear
There are other factors to consider when looking for a helmet or hard hat. The equipment should fit each person properly in the field. Many coverings are one-size-fits-all, so look for adjustable straps that contour to the person’s unique size and shape. Try to minimize the amount of empty space when trying on helmets to improve their efficacy. Don’t forget to leave room for additional safety equipment, such as goggles, earmuffs, visors, and respirators.
When working in extreme temperatures, use vented hard hats and helmets with removable pads to keep your workers cool on the job. The ventilation allows air to flow underneath the helmet, so your team doesn’t get overheated. Regularly wash the inner pads to keep your equipment sanitary.
Helmets and hard hats also come in a range of bright neon colors to improve the visibility of your team, especially when working at night or amid extreme weather. Consider distributing color-coded equipment to your workforce to reduce confusion in the field. For example, road workers tend to wear orange, construction workers wear yellow, and green helmets are usually reserved for medical and safety officers.
You should also consider specific safety requirements and best practices related to your industry. For example, electrical workers should not wear vented hard hats or helmets, as this could lead to electrocution.
For more information on how to select a hard hat or helmet, contact the worker safety professionals at PK Safety for all your safety supply needs.