Lesson 5 Head protection

  • Risk of head injuries is in some industries very high. Workers who cut and remove tree trunks or branches are a good example. The possible injury results from impact of a falling object or collision with a fixed object. Protective helmets should absorb energy of the hit and they should prevent penetration of the skull by different objects.
  • There are different types of helmets providing different level of protection, including basic standard safety helmets, industrial bump caps or high performance industrial safety helmets, which can give additional protection e.g., from electric shocks, lateral forces, molten metal splashes.
  • As a general rule, you should not be responsible for selection of the most appropriate type of equipment to use in your work. It is the job of your employer and occupational safety and health services. However, it is your responsibility to properly use the provided PPE. You must follow rules and instructions provided in the operating manual. Important issues are also proper maintenance and storage, as well as following instructions regarding when the helmet qualifies for withdrawal from usage.

Think about it:

Regarding your personal protective equipment in general (not just your helmet), are you familiar with the operating manual of each single piece of it?

Do you know where you can find such manual?

Do you follow what’s written in the user manual?

  • The basic principles of proper use of helmets include:
    • Fitting to your head prior wearing it. You should properly adjust all parts allowing helmet to securely fit your head: headband, chinstrap, and/or other adjustable parts.
    • Regular inspection of helmet elements that are exposed to sweat dust or other factors causing degradation of the materials. These parts should be replaced if necessary and also within maintenance periods specified by manufacturer.
    • No user-modifications. The helmet structure must be unchanged by users, thus e.g., no stickers or painting applied freely by anyone is allowed.
    • Manufacturer’s recommendations regarding maintenance and storage should be followed.
    • If helmet was exposed to strong impact and/or signs of damage are visible, it should be withdrawn from usage.

Fig. 3. Example of head protection: helmet combined with hearing and face (including eyes) protection.