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September 22, 2020

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Hard Hats

Hard Hat Awareness Week: ‘Check your hard hat’, urges brain injury charity

Hard Hat Awareness Week runs from 21-27 September and will see a series of activities designed to drive awareness of brain injury and encourage best practice around safety equipment.

It goes without saying that construction sites without the correct personal protective equipment (PPE) can potentially be very dangerous places, especially when it comes to head injuries. With that in mind, brain injury association Headway has team up with safety manufacturer Centurion to raise awareness of using and maintaining hard hats while on site.

Hard Hat Awareness Week, running from 21-27 September, has been created to encourage best practice around safety equipment.

Headway has published the results of a recent survey of 486 respondents, which looked into the use of hard hats in the construction industry and understanding of concussion, and revealed that among those who experienced a head injury at work:

  • 52% did not report an incident to their manager;
  • Just 6% sought medical attention for their head injury;
  • 15% stored their hard hat in an unsuitable way, such as in direct sunlight or extreme temperatures
  • 58% painted, marked or applied decals or labels to their helmet, which could cause a chemical attack and reduce its durability;
  • 24% were unaware that exceeding the expiry date of a hard hat can reduce the level of protectivity;
  • 28% did not know where to find their helmet’s expiry date or were unaware it even had one.

Dedicated Hard Hat Awareness Week

Peter McCabe, Chief Executive of Headway, said: “Brain injury is more common than you think, and its impact can be life-changing for both the injured person but also their wider family. Ensuring your head protection is worn and cared for correctly is key to remaining safe.

“To all those working on site or in the construction industry, we urge you to always wear your hard hat.”

Chris Tidy from Centurion Safety Products added: “We want people to understand the devastating effects of brain injury. It’s not just the individual that’s impacted, a brain injury can change the lives and futures of partners, family members and friends.

“Centurion and Headway want to drive the awareness of brain injury but also help wearers of safety helmets and hard hats to understand the possibly lifesaving piece of PPE they are wearing.

“We would like a week dedicated every year going forward for all wearers to audit their safety helmet or hard hat for signs of wear and tear, make sure it is in date, remove any unchecked stickers and sanitise/clean this piece of safety equipment whilst in a safe environment. We would like to challenge other safety helmet manufacturers to get involved and publicise this event going forward.

“We also want wearers to understand that 30% of head injuries occur from slips, trips and falls from the same level where the wearer could suffer a rotational injury. We would like to educate the wearer on the risk of concussion and give them a concussion recognition tool that will help them to understand the early warning signs, showing the person may be at risk so they can seek medical attention.”

Liam’s story

Liam Jones, whose name has been changed for anonymity, was working as an overhead linesman when a metal bar fell and hit him on the head, causing what could have been a life-altering injury had he not been wearing his helmet.

Here, he shares his story as part of Headway and Centurion’s campaign to raise awareness of using and maintaining hard hats while on site.

35-year old Liam was working on an overhead line job late at night. It was dark and he and his team had been working all day long.

Liam was working on the ground while colleagues were installing a screw-in pin above him. Accidentally, the pin, weighing 1.6kg and measuring 14 inches, fell and hit him on the head. Thankfully, Liam was following proper protocol by wearing his hard hat.

He said: “Although using hard hats is second nature, seeing my hard hat perform so well and protecting me in a real situation gives me huge confidence in my PPE.”

Liam was left with minor bruising on his head, but he says that without wearing his helmet, things could’ve been far worse.

“The doctor in A&E was thankful I was wearing a hard hat. I feel very grateful to be alive. In my mind, there’s no doubt that the hard hat saved my life or at least from serious injury.”

Barbour download: Guide to working at height

Work at any height can cause injury; a fall from a height of just one or two steps can cause serious injury.

The Regulations were amended in 2007 to extend their application to those who work at height providing instruction or leadership to one or more people engaged in caving or climbing by way of sport, recreation, team building or similar activities in Great Britain.

Download your free guide from Barbour to understand: Duties of persons in control of work at height; Duties of persons undertaking work at height; General controls when working at height; Method statement for work at height; Selection of a means of access; Working platforms; Guardrails and toeboards; Ladders Mobile work platforms; Suspended access equipment; Personal suspension equipment and, Inspection of fall arrest equipment.

Barbour EHS

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