Safety Helmet is essential to avoid head injuries. One of the parts of the body that is of vital importance is the head, where the brain is located and is the command centre of our entire body. Wearing a safety helmet should be one of your priorities, as it defines your well-being and the success of your activities. Safety helmet OSHA standards require that employers will provide free-of-cost safety helmets to workers.
Do not detract from the usefulness of industrial safety, and consider that protective equipment is designed to prevent accidents that we can regret for a long time for safety helmet construction.
Importance of safety helmet
Why should I wear an industrial safety helmet? Sometimes we complain about protective helmets, because they are cumbersome, and cause us unusual every day. Nobody wants to wear a helmet at the site even me. However, its functions as safeguards are relevant in risk activities, so we share these five reasons not to leave your industrial safety helmet.
- Avoid the impact of falling objects. This is the most obvious use, if you are on a construction site or in a factory, parts or material that could be dangerous on impact with the human body may come off from the upper levels.
- It usually protects you against electrical risks. Some helmets are designed so that if your head contact with a wire or there are electrical discharges in the environment, these forces will not affect you.
- It prevents you from hitting the ground. Although it sounds funny, a helmet will always help you in the fall. The injuries will be much less, and you will be able to recover more easily after the initial confusion. Remember that in some work spaces, falls are riskier such as work at height.
- Protects you from inclement weather. Whether it’s keeping your head warm in cold places or keeping you from getting sunburned, hard hats can help you work in tough conditions.
- There are colour codes that indicate the position of the person who uses the helmet, so we recommend that you inform yourself and use the colour that suits your position within the organization.
What does the ANSI Z89.1 standard say?
It is the American national standard for industrial head protection providing test standards for safety helmets. This standard was prepared by the ISEA (international safety equipment association) Head Protection committee as a revision to the 2009 edition and approved by a consensus review group composed of Expert technicians, testing laboratories, and certification and government agencies.
The standard establishes Types and Classes of safety helmets to provide workers with the most appropriate option against the dropped object and head bump risk in the workplace.
Safety helmet types and classification
Safety helmets are divided according to their impact resistance into two types and three safety helmet classes:
Safety Helmet Type 1
We start with the first type I helmet, these types of helmets are the most basic in the labour market, and are used in most jobs in different areas, due to the level of versatility and first-hand protection they offer.
This type of helmet reduces the impact force of a blunt object thrown from above on the top of the head. This type is built to withstand the most basic bumps and bruises against the top of the worker’s head when an accident occurs.
Safety Helmet Type 2
In the case of type II safety helmets, these resist impacts not only on the top of the head but also on the sides of the head. These, without a doubt, are much broader in protection and resist greater circumstances than type I.
Class G safety helmet
Similarly, safety helmets are usually classified into three models, and one of them is the class G helmet, this type of helmet is named for being general. They have the characteristic of not allowing low voltage electrical contact to cause a serious risk to the life of the person. It is the best safety helmet for construction.
Safety helmets are manufactured to reduce the risk of contact with low-voltage electrical conductors. The test tests are tested at 2200 volts (ground phase).
Class E safety helmet
The class E helmet is named for being electric. In other words, they mostly prevent any risk of suffering a potential high-voltage electric shock with electrical conductors and offer dielectric protection up to 20,000 volts (phase to ground). It is the best safety helmet for preventing electrocution known as an electrical safety helmet.
Class C safety helmet
Finally, there is the class C helmets, which are named for being only a non-conductive activity acceptable on construction projects for protection against only impact and penetration of falling and flying objects. This class does not protect the person from electrical risks at all.
What material are safety helmets made of?
Most safety helmets are made of high-density Polyethylene (HDPE), which is a thermoplastic material that is highly resistant to impacts and flexible so that it does not break so easily. Likewise, this material makes the helmet lighter, avoiding fatigue wear on the worker.
There are also models of helmets made of Polypropylene or Polycarbonate, the latter comes in translucent presentations, with extra features such as better visibility. Currently, most shells are made of acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS), their inner padding is mainly made of high-density expanded polystyrene foam, and the straps are made of polyester, the buckles are made of high-tenacity polyamide or POM (polyoxymethylene)
EN standard for safety helmet
At Centurion we believe that the standards governing protective headgear (EN 397), drafted in 1995 and adopted from ISO 3873 in 1977, could do more to meet the protection requirements of modern work environments (materials and methods have changed considerably). EN 397 is the European standard that specifies the physical and performance requirements (including testing) for industrial safety helmets. Includes mandatory and optional tests:
- Shock absorption test: a 5 kg hemispherical striker is dropped onto the crest of the hull from a height of 1 m.
- Penetration resistance test: a 3 kg conical hammer is dropped on the ridge area, the hammer must not contact the test head.
- Flame resistance test: when the helmet is exposed to a flame for 10 seconds and removed, the cup must not burn or the flame must self-extinguish within 5 seconds.
How to check the safety helmet expiry date
Does the safety helmet have an expiry date? There is no single interpretation of the “expiry” of safety helmet hard hats. In legal terms, there are no specific requirements regarding this aspect (neither in the EN 397 standard, nor in the EN 812, nor the CE Directives). Yes, there is an obligation in the EN 397 standard for the manufacturer to specify the recommended useful life under normal conditions of use.
In the “polar graph” label where a spinner appears with different years. It is a factory brand where the year of manufacture of the PPE appears, but not the expiration date.
To find the expiration date of the product, the manufacturer usually provides additional documentation with the equipment. In it, you will find the instructions for use, brochure, manual and an identifier where the actual expiration date of the safety helmet or the PPE in question is specified.
For this reason, the safety helmets used in construction require revisions and have an “expiry date”, established by the manufacturer, for use under normal conditions that is between three and five years. We must not forget that any type of serious deterioration caused by different factors can occur regardless of expiration:
- Exposure to intense sun
- Prolonged exposure to small bruises or suffering from a major blow
- Mistreatment or ignorance of the use of the helmet
- Falls from great heights
- Drop a tool on it
In this case (serious deterioration for some reason), it is necessary to discard the protective helmet for safety reasons. Even when its expiration date or estimated shelf life has not passed.
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Elements of safety helmets
Safety helmet accessories include:
Shell: The shell is the original element of the safety helmet. This is the part that constitutes the exterior of the safety helmet.
Visor: The visor is the part that extends from the frame above the eyes. It helps prevent the sun from hitting us directly in the eyes or small objects from falling on our faces from above.
Brim: For its part, the brim of the helmet is the edge that is placed around the entire frame. There are different models of safety helmets that have wings of various sizes, from wide brims to shorter ones called full-brim safety helmets.
Harness: The harness is the accessory that helps keep the helmet in the correct position on top of the head. In addition, it is responsible for absorbing the energy received by the helmet in case it is impacted.
Chin strap safety helmet
And finally, the chinstrap is the strap that helps hold the crash helmet below the chin. The type II helmet has a chin strap to ensure that it cannot come off the person’s head, due to some force event that knocks it over.
At Centurion we believe that a chinstrap should be mandatory because it helps improve safety. This is essential when working in environments where a helmet can fall on someone below, which is often referred to as ‘working at height’ and is especially important.
If the user does not wear the helmet securely, the level of protection will be affected in the event of an impact. If an object hits the wearer, there is a possibility that the impact will knock the helmet off the head, which would not happen with the chinstrap, which would also protect against possible subsequent impacts.
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