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  • Arco Provides Head Protection Advice for Hard Hat Awareness Week

    Arco is sponsoring Hard Hat Awareness Week (12th - 18th June 2023), a not-for-profit event focused on bringing awareness of brain injuries to the forefront of safety, and is seeking to provide its industry-leading expertise on selecting the right head protection and how to maintain it to keep workers safe.

    According to the Health & Safety Executive (HSE), head injuries account for over 25% of fatal injuries in the UK workplace, and a further 3,500 non-fatal head injuries are reported each year.

    The most common causes of head injuries are because of slips, trips and falls, which account for 30% of all incidents, followed by working at height and impact from falling objects.

    These incidents can also result in a rotational brain injury, where a person suffers an angled impact to the head, which can cause a rotational movement, A rotational force to the head causes the brain to rotate inside the skull. The relative movement between the skull and brain can cause strain on the brain and lead to traumatic brain injury (TBI)

    Before selecting head protection, it should be determined if it is needed for the job or task in question, through a risk assessment and, where possible, through mitigation measures.

    If head protection is needed, Arco advises that the following three points should be considered:

    1. Job / tasks - workers need to consider the daily hazards they face in the workplace. The European Standard for industrial safety helmets is EN 397, which provides shock absorption, penetration resistance and protection against impact. When working at height, additional protection should be considered as part of the product selection process. For example, chin straps or optional testing for Lateral Deformation are available for EN 397 industrial helmets. Alternatively opting for a helmet tested to the safety standard EN 12492 can be used more specifically for climbing.

    2. Wearer - include the wearer in the selection process of head protection. At the end of the day, workers are the ones required to wear personal protective equipment (PPE) all day. In an industry survey by MSA Safety and Skill Builder, it was revealed that a lack of comfort was one of the main obstacles putting workers off wearing their safety helmets more regularly.

    3. Compatible with other PPE - it might be that workers are also required to wear other PPE with their head protection. Did you know that only certain products are tested together, making them compliant? Also, the use of personal hoodies, caps and bobble hats worn underneath hard hats can make the PPE non-compliant, which will not provide the adequate level of protection. The use of hard hat accessories are available as long as they have been certified by the manufacturer for the use with the helmet.

    It is also important to maintain head protection to ensure compliance and that your workers are receiving the best level of protection.

    Helmet shells are designed to be shock absorbent; however, the material properties used to protect workers can also be sensitive to chemical attack. More than half of workers mark or apply decals and labels to their helmet, possibly unknowingly decreasing its durability by compromising the integrity of the material it is made from.

    To maintain safety standards, workers should remove any unchecked stickers and sanitise and clean their head protection equipment in a safe environment. Additionally, workers should audit their safety helmet or hard hat for signs of wear and tear and make sure it is in date.

    Most manufacturers recommend replacing hard hats every five years regardless of external appearance. However, excessive wear and tear in extreme environments, such as exposure to high temperatures, chemicals or sunlight, can significantly shorten the product's life span.

    When evaluating a time frame for safe usage, workers should conduct a risk assessment to consider their unique environment.

    Alex Turgoose, PPE Product and Procurement Manager at Arco, said:

    "As experts in safety, we understand that each business faces its own unique and complex challenges when managing workplace health and safety.

    "One of the reasons for Hard Hat Awareness Week (HHAW) is to bring awareness of the risks from head injury, and the risks of brain injury that can fundamentally lead to life altering consequences.

    "We are passionate about raising awareness of safety risks through expert advice, guidance on hazards, compliance and best practice as well as in the selection of the right products - especially when it comes to head protection, which is why we're proud to support and sponsor an event like HHAW."

    To find out more about head protection and how the MIPS system can reduce the risk of rotational brain injuries, click here

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