Hard Hats 101: The Importance of Protecting Heads in the Workplace

Protecting your employees in the workplace is one of your top priorities. Certain occupations require additional safety gear to be worn, especially if the work involves physical hazards, like potentially falling objects. One way to offer additional safety gear is through requiring employees to wear hard hats, which protect your employee’s head. Injuries to the head are very dangerous and potentially fatal, making it even more important to ensure your employees wear their hard hats at all times.

Common Causes of Head Injuries

Head injuries can range from concussions to severe brain damage, so it is critical to protect your employees from them in every way you can. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the most common causes of severe injuries to the head that lead to traumatic brain injury are falls, motor vehicle accidents and being struck by something. If you have employees who may fall from a ladder or rooftop,  there is a 35 percent chance of a head injury when a hard hat is not worn. There is a 16 percent chance of being struck, according to the CDC.

Types of Hard Hats

Any time there is a potential for injury to the head your employee should be wearing protection on their head. There are three main classes of hard hats. The first class has a full brim around the entire hat, while the second type has a short brim worn on the front only. There are also specialty hard hats for electrical workers. Hard hats must be made of a quality type of plastic to protect the head from various accidents.

How Do Hard Hats Protect You

Hard hats have special features that help protect construction workers and workers in the manufacturing industries from serious head injuries. These features include a hard shell that helps resist a hard blow to the head, insulation that prevents electrical shock, a suspension feature to absorb shock rather than affecting their brain, shielding the head, face, neck and shoulders from drips or spills, and special ones with extra features like goggles, hearing protection, shields or hoods.

OSHA Hard Hat Requirements

The Occupational Safety & Health Administration has provided employers with certain head protection regulations and specifications that must be met, which include hard hats for protecting the head. Some of these regulations include providing all employees with hard hats if they are at risk of injury to the head, requiring that they wear the hats at all times, providing hats that protect them from high-voltage electrical shock, burns, falls and flying debris or other hazards.

Hard hats go a long way toward protecting the head, face, eyes and ears of employees, but it does not prevent all work-related injuries. It is essential that you protect your business and your employees with a workers’ compensation insurance policy.