Personal protective equipment (PPE) is the least desirable way to ensure workplace safety, and it is difficult to use consistently, (Importance of Hard Hats at Workplace). The purpose of PPE is to protect workers from exposure to work-related hazards and risk of injury. Before assigning or using PPE, steps should be taken to remove or control hazards and work measures should be in place to limit exposure to these hazards. If the hazards are not dealt with then PPE clothing should be a last resort for employee protection.
Hard hats are the most important piece of PPE your employees have to wear them all day when working in areas like sites, factory, construction etc. This is to avoid head injuries that are caused by flying or falling objects. Also, avoid bumping your head against something. The prevention of head injuries is an important factor in every safety program.
Controlling the hazards that lead to head, injuries are usually difficult to anticipate, so hard hats are used to eliminate these risks. Hard hats are compulsory to employees working in areas where there is a risk of receiving head injuries from falling or flying objects that may pose a risk to employees. Most workers who suffered impact injuries to the head were performing their normal jobs, at their regular work-sites, but were not wearing head protection. Employers must make it a compulsory to wear head protection at work always because:
- Objects might fall from above and strike them on the head.
- They might strike their head against fixed objects.
- There is a possibility of accidental head contact with electrical hazards.
- So as an employer you must give them protective helmets, ensure you train your staff on how to take care of their hard hats.
Types of Protective Head Gear.
- Hard hat type designations (1 and 2) determine helmet shape.
- Type — 1These hard hats have a full brim of not less than one and one-quarter inches wide.
- Type — 2These hard hats are brim-less, except for a front bill, and have a peak ridge extending forward from the crown.
The Importance of Hard Hats at Workplace
NOTE: Another type of protective headgear on the market is called a “bump hat,” designed for use in areas with low head clearance. Used to protect against head bumps and lacerations, but do not protect against falling or flying objects. They are not approved for use by the South African labour body.
- Electrical Classes of Protective Head Gear: Hardhat class designations G, E, and C determine recognized service values and are available in both types.
- Class — G Hard Hats: Are designated as general service, limited voltage protection, and are intended for protection against impact hazards. They are used in mining, building construction, shipbuilding, tunneling, timber and lumber operations, and manufacturing.
- Class — E Hard Hats: Are designated as utility service, high voltage helmets and are intended for protection against impact and penetration from falling or flying objects and from high voltage shock and burn. Electrical workers use them extensively.
- Class — C Hard Hats: Are designated as special service with no voltage protection. Known as safety hats, caps, or bump helmets, they are particularly designed for lightweight comfort and impact protection. They are normally used in certain construction and manufacturing occupations, oil fields, refineries, chemical plants where there is little danger of falling objects or electrical hazards. They are used where there is the risk of bumping your head against fixed objects
Head protection that is either too large or too small is inappropriate for use, even if it meets all other requirements. Protective headgear must fit properly on the head and should be accompanied by clear instructions explaining proper adjustment and replacement of the suspension and headband. Hard hats may be equipped with or designed for, attached accessories to help employees deal with changing environmental conditions, such as slots for earmuffs, or face shields. The headgear must be designed for these accessories by the manufacturer, and must never be altered by the employee in any way, such as drilling or cutting.
Make sure your protective headgear is appropriate for the risks you may encounter on the job. Your hard hat should fit properly, be cleaned, maintained, and inspected regularly. If for any reason you suspect the safety values of your hard hat were compromised in any way, replace it immediately. Avoid the risk of a head injury; your hard hat does you no good if it is worn out.