Top tips: selecting safety headgear for construction sites

Honeywell Ltd

By Priyal Saswade, Business Leader for Honeywell Personal Protective Equipment, Asia Pacific
Friday, 14 October, 2022


Top tips: selecting safety headgear for construction sites

Across the spectrum of jobs on construction worksites, workers face many hazards that can lead to injury and can sometimes even be fatal. Among those hazards, construction sites expose workers to dropped objects, impacts and bumps to the head on equipment and machinery.

Ensuring proper head protection is therefore a critical component of helping to keep workers safe on the job. After all, the head houses one of the most important organs in the human body: the brain. Below are some top tips for selecting the correct PPE that workers will want to wear all shift long.

1. Ensure comfort

When selecting head protection such as a hard hat or a safety helmet, the first necessity of all PPE is that it provides the requisite level of protection for the task at hand. However, PPE only works to protect users when it is worn properly. So, it is imperative to select headgear that workers will be comfortable wearing for an entire shift. Opt for head protection that incorporates comfortable padding and allows for suspension height adjustment, because one size does not always fit all.

2. Reduce the risk of heat stress

As the hot days of spring and summer bear down, workers who are exposed to excessive heat while undertaking strenuous work are at risk of heat stress. If the body is not able to regulate the internal temperature fast enough, this can lead to heat-related illnesses such as heat exhaustion or heat stroke. When carrying out physical tasks in a hot and/or humid environment, there is also a risk that workers may seek comfort by taking off layers of clothing or equipment — which can lead to cutting corners in safety. Preventing heat stress in workers is important, as excessive exposure to heat can affect worker health, safety and productivity. PPE that allows proper airflow and ventilation is key to helping workers stay cool.

When selecting head protection for outdoor construction workers who may be more susceptible to heat stress, employers should supply light-coloured hard hats for their employees to help protect from heat hazards. Lighter coloured hard hats, such as those that are white, help keep workers cool by reflecting light from the sun away from the head. High-visibility colours on the other hand, such as orange, can attract and retain heat.

3. Minimise worker fatigue

Many workers often consider PPE as an extra layer they are required to wear for compliance, and when workers spend their days engaging in strenuous activities, they do not want their gear weighing them down. Since the main purpose of PPE is to be protective, it can sometimes mean that heavy materials are used. When selecting headgear, compare options to find those with lightweight shell designs to eliminate neck fatigue during long shifts.

Head to toe safety starts at the top

With the multitude of hazards present on a construction site, having the right head protection is necessary. By selecting head protection that keeps comfort and worker well-being top of mind, workers can remain protected when and where they need it most.

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Handy hints
  • Opt for head protection that incorporates comfortable padding and allows for suspension height adjustment.
  • Choose lighter coloured hats that allow proper airflow and ventilation to help keep the head cool in heat.
  • High-visibility hat colours, such as orange, can attract and retain heat.
  • Lightweight shell designs can help to eliminate neck fatigue during long shifts.
     

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Image credit: iStock.com/artea18

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