Safety Talk - Safety Helmet
All About Safety Helmets
This feature can be used as the basis of a Safety Toolbox Talk about Safety Helmets, head protection or other general safety awareness talk.
It is aimed at those working in industry that requires the wearing of hard hats and discusses the reasons for not wearing hard hats backwards and why items should not be stored inside a hard hat as well as general hard hat safety guidelines.
Where And When Are Hard Hats Required?
Many workplaces require the use of Hard Hats or Safety Helmets at all times when on site.
They should be used when there is a danger of falling objects striking somebody on the head or when somebody could hit their head against something.
Check local requirements for specific details or requirements.
When Can I Remove My Hard Hat?
There are times when a hard hat needs to be removed for a specific reason, below is a list of generally accepted conditions or removing a hard hat. Any other times when a hard hat is requested to be removed should be risk assessed to determine if the reasons are valid and if continued wearing of the hard hat poses a greater risk than removing it.
These are general guidelines, local rules and restrictions may be more prohibitive, please check locally before accepting these.
- Hard hats may be removed BRIEFLY to wipe your brow.
- You may also remove your hat when eating lunch or dinner in a designated eating area.
- Operators of vehicles with cabs may remove their hard hat while inside the cab.
Need to Buy a Safety Hard Hat? - Check out these great offers
Can I Wear My Hard Hat Backwards?
In general, you must wear your hard hat so that the brim is facing forward
There may be some very limited activities requiring that the hard hat be worn backwards
To wear a hard hat backwards, you must follow these requirements:
- specific job requires that the hard hat be worn backwards
- suspension bracket must be reassembled so the "brow pad" remains in front
- hard hat must sit straight on the head
- hard hat must be made by a reputable manufacture that has designed the hat to allow it to be worn backwards, MSA are highly recommended.
- hard hat must be returned to forward position when finished with the job.
Wearing a hard hat "backwards" significantly reduces your frontal protection and should only be allowed when absolutely necessary for the job.
Can I Store Items Such As Gloves Between The Suspension And Shell?
This space is needed when the suspension absorbs the energy of an impact. Objects stored in this space may transmit forces to the head and neck resulting in serious injury
What Else Should I Know To Help Me Wear My Hard Hat Properly?
- Always use suspensions and hard hats made by the same manufacturer.
- Make sure the suspension and hard hat are of the same size.
- Your hard hat should fit securely on the head and headband must be adjusted to provide a snug fit.
- Accessories can be used with Hard Hats but they must be compatible and ideally from the same manufacturer.
How Should I Take Care Of My Hard Hat?
- Always inspect your hard hat shell and suspension before and after use. Look for:
- breakage or cracks in the shell and suspension
- brittle, discolored or "chalky" plastic
- loss of suspension flexibility
- frayed suspension straps or stitching
- Never alter or modify your hard hat (ie: drilling holes in shell for ventilation). Such alterations and modifications may reduce the level of impact resistance provided.
- Use only mild soap and water to clean your hard hat. Solvents and other chemicals such as gasoline, MEK or kerosene may damage the shell and suspension.
- When damaged or subjected to impact, the hard hat suspension and shell must be replaced
- A hard hat has a manufacture date stamp on the underside. This should be checked and the hard hat replaced after 3 years from the manufacturing date.
Don't be a Hard Head - Wear your Hard Hat!
When Should A Hard Hat Be Replaced?
Hard Hats don't last forever!
As a general rule hard hats should be replaced when they are 3 years old. The plastics that they are made from can be affected by UV radiation from sunlight, chemicals and impact damage. If the hard hat is showing any signs of these eg, color fading, cracking or staining, it should be replaced.
The age of your hard hat can usually be determined by the manufacturers date stamp inside the hat.
If you hard hat is involved in a major impact, it should be replaced whether there is any sign of damage or not.
Helmet Impact Demo - The video says it all!
This video is taken from Youtube and can be used in your safety talk if you wish it demonstrated the level of injury that can be incurred when not wearing a safety helmet and shows the same impacts when a safety helmet is worn.
Hard Hats for Ladies - A bit of Fashion as well as safety.
Hard Hats for Children - Protect those that are most precious.
If children are likely to be in an area where they are exposed to falling material hazards, they must be protected. This may be a plant or workplace tour or it could be a home construction project. Whichever, children are vulnerable to head injuries so make sure the small expense does not prevent them from being safe.
Do NOT think that an adult hard hat will be suitable for a child!
Hard Hat Accessories - Make your hard hat suit the job you are doing.
WARNING: Always ensure that safety items are fully compatible with each other. Idealy choose items from a single manufacturer that have been designed to work together.
About the Author
What makes me qualified to tell you about safety in the workplace?
I have been a Chartered Engineer for about 14 years and have over 20 years experience of working in a variety of industrial environments that have all included a range of high risk activities. These include Petrochem, Metal Manufacturing, Power Generation and Construction.
In that time I have promoted safe working to everybody.
For a number of years I was employed by a large American Corporation and was deemed to be the local Fall Prevention and Protection expert and introduced many new systems and methods of work.
I am now in a position where I would like to share some of the knowledge I have gained over the years.
The information in this lens is provided for information only and does not intend to replace any training that a user must receive. The author can accept no responsibility of any kind for any accident, injury, damage or loss resulting from a person or persons using this information.
This information must not be used to replace local standards, procedures and training.
Every job must be fully assessed for risk and method before any works are performed.
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