A definitive guide to Safety Helmets
This week in our protective clothing series, we are talking all about head protection. Many industry sectors where there is a risk of injury or falling objects, such as construction, forestry, mining and engineering, issue safety helmets (aka. Hard hats) as part of their mandatory uniform.
A safety helmet is a potentially lifesaving piece of workwear – if there is any risk of injury to the head at your place of work then safety helmets are required by law. Safety helmets undergo rigorous testing to ensure they are fit for purpose. There are various European standards that safety helmets must follow, some of which are listed below;
EN 397 has been tested to provide protection from falling objects. For a helmet to meet the requirements of EN 397, the maximum transferred force to the head can’t exceed 5 kN. EN 397 helmets are not required to have a mandatory chin strap. If they do, the chin strap must break under a force of no less than 150N and no more than 250N. Helmets are also submitted to resistance to penetration and flame tests to comply with regulations.
These standards were last updated in 1995, and with the ever-changing industry working environment and the significant changes to equipment, materials and methods we would advise you to think beyond the minimum requirements and never take your safety for granted.
EN 812 is the industry standard requirement for bump camps. Bump camps are only designed to withstand impact from static objects (e.g. hanging obstructions) and should only be worn if there is no risk of falling objects or head injury.
Hard hat colour code
White - site managers, competent operatives & vehicle marshals
Orange – slingers & signallers
Black – site supervisors
Blue – Anyone on site who does not fall in to the above categories
Yellow – common colour with no specific role attached
*There are some exceptions (and additional colours) so always follow the guidance set out by your workplace.
Shop some of our best-selling head protection below:
- Safety helmets should be in a good condition, if the helmet is damaged in any way it should be disposed of, because the effectiveness of the helmet could be compromised.
- The helmet should fit snuggly and be properly adjusted to the wearer’s head.
- Ensure you purchase your safety helmet from a reputable supplier; there are fake safety helmets being sold that do not comply with safety regulations.
- The typical lifespan of a safety helmet is 5 years from first use or removal from the packaging. Always keep an eye on the expiry date of your safety helmet and do not exceed this. The lifespan of your helmet may be shortened if your safety helmet is left in direct sunlight for a prolonged period, along with other environmental factors. This can vary, so always follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
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Thanks for reading!