Hard Hats and Health and Safety – What You Need To Know

Posted on written by Sam Barton

How important is it to wear a hard hat on a construction site?

In the construction industry in the UK, 3% of workers sustain a work-related injury and 11% of these injuries are from being struck by an object. In fact, another 66,000 injuries are estimated to go unreported every year.

Wearing a hard hat is not only about practicing good health and safety but it is about protecting yourself from harm as well.

In this week’s blog post we want to have a look at hard hats, what the law says around wearing them, what constitutes a suitable hard hat and finally we tackle the question of whether or not they go out of date.

Do You Need To Wear A Hard Hat On A Construction Site?

It depends.

The risk of a head injury occurring on a construction site is a lot higher than many other industries hence why there is such an emphasis on wearing hard hats. Working in construction is a high risk job and accidents do happen even on sites that have a stellar health and safety record.

Under the Personal Protective Equipment Regulations 1992, employers have to provide workers with a hard hat and it also ensures employees are required to wear a hard hat on site where there is a risk of head injuries. This extends to visitors too. There are exemptions for certain religious groups. For example, turban-wearing Sikhs are exempt from wearing a hard hat in the workplace however for the most part everyone is obligated to wear one where a risk is present.

While it isn’t 100% compulsory by law to wear a safety helmet on a construction site if there is no risk of head injuries, on the vast majority of construction site the danger is real so wearing hard hats are necessary.

What Is A Suitable Hard Hat?

A suitable hard hat should be free of any damages and be in good condition. It should also fit the person that is wearing it to provide maximum protection while also allowing room to wear other PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) for example hearing protectors. Hard hats used in the UK must be manufactured to BS EN 397 standard.

Any damaged hard hats shouldn’t be used and should instead be discarded, but can a hard hat go ‘out of date’?

What Is The Expiration Date Of A Hard Hat?

While there isn’t a legal expiration date for hard hats, most companies use a policy of 5 years from the manufacturing date and 3 from the date of issue.

If a hard hat becomes damaged before this time has passed then it obviously needs replaced however the 3 and 5 year rule is good practice to follow. If the hat is consistently exposed to extreme conditions such as cold temperatures, harsh chemicals or high levels of sunlight then it should be replaced every 2 years.

Wearing PPE equipment and hard hats in particular is important on a construction site due to the nature and risk of the job.

It only takes a second for an accident to happen which could potentially be fatal and a hard hat is a solid line of defence if an incident does occur in such a dangerous working environment.

Hard hats and your safety

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