Are Safety Helmets the Best Fit for Your Workforce?
To answer quickly…if you are looking to improve safety, comfort and increase productivity, a safety helmet may be just what you are looking for.
Learn the basics about safety helmets, how they're different from traditional hard hats, and if they may be right for you or your crew. You can check out specific details about the Bullard CEN10 safety helmet here.
What's The Difference In A Hard Hat And A Safety Helmet?
You're probably used to seeing hard hats on job sites and crews like yours, but now companies are shifting to helmets that resemble recreational helmets used in climbing and cycling. So, what is the difference?
Appearance: At first glance, the safety helmet has a slimmer modern aesthetic appearance from the traditional hard hat. They don't sit as high on the head and appear to have a more form fit to the head.
How They Protect the Worker: Historically, hard hats were designed to protect the worker from an impact of a dropped object from above the head. But hazards can come from all directions, safety helmets were designed with that in mind, with a fit that covers more of the head.
How They Secure To The Head: Hard hats use a webbed ribbon style suspension system to help keep the hat on the head, but they do not necessarily keep it secure from falling off the head.
The safety helmet also uses a suspension type feature; however, the head now rests on a comfort pad versus a webbed ribbon style suspension and are designed to offer more protection with the use of a chin strap to secure the hat to the head.
Do Workers Prefer To Wear Safety Helmets Over Hard Hats?
After wearing a safety helmet on the job, many wearers will prefer the fit, stability, and comfort of the safety helmets to some more traditional hard hats. Here are some of the reasons why:
- Understanding the Fit: The newest generation of head protection has drastically improved their suspension systems. These systems are now made to fit all shapes and sizes of heads. No more tension points and irregular fits that cause the worker to wear their PPE incorrectly or even worse, not at all.They now fit like sports helmets that are used in climbing and cycling for maximum comfort in life’s most challenging day to day activities. The fit of the helmet now provides more coverage to the back and sides of the head as well.
- Why Stability Matters: The advanced helmets now provide a 3-point or 4-point chin strap for a more secure fit. The use of the chinstrap now assures that a worker’s head protection will not fall off their head. One key issue to traditional hard hats, is in the event of a slip, trip, fall, or at heights, the hat is prone to fall off a worker’s head.
With all the hazards surrounding a worker on a job site, worrying about the stability of their head protection should be their last concern.
- More Comfort: Offering a new ergonomic design, safety helmets are low-profile by sitting lower to the head and feature a near brim-less design allowing greater situational awareness and ability to get into tight spaces.Some helmets have taken it a step further adding a comfort padding with antimicrobial and moisture wicking keeping you fresh and cooler through the workday. You can also now find vented and non-vented options of the helmet to help keep workers more comfortable with increased ventilation.
Should All Workers Wear Safety Helmets?
Depending on your job site or task at hand, some companies may select to use both old and new styles of head protection. There may be a need to shift all workers to safety helmets or choosing certain job functions that are more appropriate for safety helmets.
For example, a visitor to a job site for observation, may perhaps be better suited to wear a traditional hard hat, however a worker that has to use fall protection working on scaffolding at heights may be better suited for a safety helmet.
Keeping risks to a minimum is most certainly the preferred safety measure.
How Can I Determine If Switching To A Safety Helmet Is Right For Me Or My Crew?
A work site assessment can help create a list of hazards for each worker and/or tasks performed, and then reviewed to make an action plan to minimize the risks of the work task.
Are Safety Helmets More Expensive Than Traditional Hard Hats?
Why haven’t more companies already made the switch? Traditionally, hard hats can be purchased for anywhere from $10-$50, while safety helmets can be nearly double the cost up to $85-$150 each.
According to the National Council on Compensation Insurance (NCCI), Workers Compensation Statistical Plan Database, which reflects claims on workers’ compensation insurance policies, has reported head injuries being the most expensive liability costing up to $60K if not more per incidence. The safety that comes with features such as integrated chinstraps may have a slightly higher price tag, but the possibility of high liability claims may far surpass the higher helmet cost.
Are Old Traditions Slowing The Switch To Safety Helmets?
Change to a new unfamiliar technology can be a hurdle. Workers can be traditional and want to wear the head protection worn by their previous generations. Most workers hard hats are seen decorated with stickers to signify a status, achievements, and/or years of service.
However, safety has evolved over the years and workers now see more than ever the need to protect themselves the best way possible to be able to come home to their loved ones every day.
I’m Interested In Shifting To A Safety Helmet From A Traditional Hard Hat. What’s My Next Step?
Improved Safety Shouldn’t Be Overlooked. Explore your work environment and make sure you are satisfied that your current head protection equipment is fitting the best needs of your workers.