Top tips to consider when choosing the right head protection for your team
The human brain is an amazing thing. With 100,000 miles of blood vessels and 100 billion neurons, it enables us to breathe, think, dream, retain memories and make 35,000 decisions each and every day. So, it’s well worth looking after by choosing the right head protection.
But with a myriad of options out there, how do plant operators know what to look for when choosing a safety helmet, and what options will help their team perform to the best of their ability?
Everybody loves a bargain, but it’s not worth putting the health of workers at risk with lower quality PPE just because of its initial cost. But, beyond safety, maximising a PPE budget by choosing a quality safety partner will not only ensure that plant operators get a better, more consistent return on the money they spend. It will also help to get the most out of their team.
If a worker knows that they are well protected, they can have complete confidence in carrying out their duties. The best choice of helmets will also be the most comfortable. This can contribute to a happier workforce, one that will create a better culture within an organisation. The result of greater confidence and happiness is a willingness to work more efficiently. Forbes has even suggested that a happier worker can be up to 20% more productive – meaning a plant’s PPE budget has paid for itself.
To achieve these benefits, hard hats need to be appropriate to the workers’ task and working environment, fit comfortably and provide the highest levels of safety.
Choosing the right helmet
With so many helmet designs on the market, it’s understandable that project leaders don’t know what to look for when choosing for their team. Some of the key questions to be asking are detailed below.
Firstly, does it comply with the relevant standards? Complying with standards isn’t just about safety – failing to be compliant can result in large fines and reputational damage for an organisation. Check whether you need to meet ANSI, CSA and EN standards or other grades for specific applications.
Is it comfortable? A comfortable helmet is more likely to be worn than one that doesn’t fit properly. Look for features such as a fast-dry sweatband and a lightweight design.
Does it look good? While safety should never be compromised for style, a more attractive helmet can increase the likelihood that it will be worn.
Can accessories be added? Extra accessories may be needed to add extra protection for workers’ faces, eyes, hearing and breathing.
Can you choose application specific features? For example, working at heights or in confined spaces operators want to choose a helmet with a chinstrap and that is brimless and compact, while working in electrical environments or around chemicals they want the option to choose helmets that are non-vented, have an integrated face-mask, are made of anti-static materials and are gutter free.
Why you should choose to brand your helmet? On a project site, with dozens or even hundreds of workers, hard hat customisation, with different colours or logos, is absolutely critical.
Managing a busy project, with multiple sub-contractors, can be challenging – and it’s important to remember that sub-contractors may be relative strangers to the workplace and unfamiliar with an organisation’s procedures and rules. Customised hard hats provide a useful reminder of who’s who, and what workers’ positions and responsibilities are.
Other, more fundamental, safety features can also be added on, including retro-fitted stickers that enhance the visibility and safety of workers, and the promotion of potentially life-saving safety messages and reminders.
Furthermore, in an increasingly competitive market, customisation, including the printing of companies’ logos, is an invaluable marketing tool, enabling companies to stand out from the crowd.
It can also unify workforces and foster a greater sense of collective teamwork and pride.