Hard Hats to Helmets Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Why change from hard hats to helmets?
Helmets offer superior protection for construction workers. Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBIs) are responsible for 25% of all construction fatalities, and many life altering injuries. Helmets are inspired by the best features of hard hats for construction, and head protection for sports such as rock climbing and cycling. They incorporate energy absorbing foam liners and other technologies to ensure the head is better protected from impact. Helmets can help the construction industry reduce these fatalities and injuries.
How are helmets different than hard hats?
Helmets provide two key features compared to a hard hat: an energy absorbing foam liner to significantly improve protection from impact and penetration to the top sides, front, and rear of the helmet, and a chin strap to assure that the helmet stays on during a slip, trip, or fall.
What are the weaknesses of a traditional hard hat?
There are some basic principles that the standards organizations and industries of many countries have recognized and have begun to address:
- Hard hats fall off often and can’t be relied on to stay on when people really need them, in a fall. Hard hats fall off from even simple movements like leaning over. Hard hat lanyards exist because we anticipate the hard hat is going to fall off, and we want to prevent a larger incident.
- Hard hats are only designed to address other impacts and penetrations to the crown of the helmet. They are not engineered to offer protection from impacts and penetrations.
- Hard hat standards focus on what happens when an object impacts the hard hat, but not conditions of a head impacting an object during a fall.
Where has this type of helmet been adopted and why?
Many countries have directly adopted or been inspired by the EN industrial helmet standards of the UK and European Union. These standards address items such as head protection in a fall and hard hat retention. Such helmets are found across Europe, Africa, Asia, and Australia. ANSI standards in the U.S. do not include such requirements. Nonetheless, helmets that meet a combination of ANSI and the same EN standards are being adopted by many major U.S. contractors. Gilbane, Skanska, Clark Construction, Balfour Beatty, and many more have moved their personnel to helmets and are starting to encourage or require the use of helmets for the specialty contractors working with them.
What is the response if customers object to the use of helmets?
Helmets meet all requirements of ANSI Type 1, Class C, G, and in some cases E helmets. This means they satisfy all OSHA requirements and meet or exceed the performance of existing hard hats. Though they might look different, there is not a technical reason a customer could object to the use of helmets.
Can you have your company logo on your helmet?