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Health and Safety Training - Head Protection | myfiresafetytraining.com

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Health and Safety Training – Head Protection

Head protection has become a fundamental part of health and safety in the workplace in recent decades and regulations have been introduced to ensure companies and employees know about the potential for head injuries in workplaces, as well as how to control this risk suitably and sufficiently. The Construction (Head Protection) Regulations 1989 makes the supply and wearing of approved safety helmets compulsory.

Head protection is deemed suitable when it gives protection, so far as is ‘reasonably practicable’, to the foreseeable risk of head injury. This means that the head protection is only ‘suitable’ when the protection reduces the risk of a head injury happening enough, so that any injury to the head is ‘reasonably’ unlikely to happen within the normal work activities. For example, an astronaut needs enough head protection to deal with the space environment which has limited oxygen supplies and radiation hazards, but a construction site worker does not need this level of protection because he doesn’t face these hazards in his normal work duties.

The extra cost spent on this form of protection would be wasted, instead a construction helmet would suffice to limit the risk of injury when a worker hits his head on a low ceiling in a congested work area. Furthermore, a person in a structurally sound normally enclosed household empty room of sufficient height, would not require head protection as there are no immediate hazards that would present a risk of a head injury occurring. If a person decides to run into a wall head first and receives a head injury, then the sanity of this person should be checked as a reasonable sane person would not do this, therefore reasonable protection against this is not required!

Suitable head protection must fit the wearer after necessary adjustment and must be suitable for the activity undertaken as defined in the Construction Design and Management Regulations 1994. It is important that the head protection is adjustable and comfortable. Personal Protection Equipment like helmets are normally bought in large quantities to save on cost, so need to be adjustable to be able to fit a wide range of people. Also it is important when wearing helmets for large periods of time that helmets are comfortable to prevent the workers becoming aggravated by them.

Each employer should provide his employees with suitable head protection. They should also maintain and replace it as necessary. It is important that in the event of a helmet coming into contact with equipment / structure / flying objects (becoming damaged and deemed no longer suitable), that a suitable replacement is sourced and continues to protect the worker’s head, to help control the foreseeable risk of injury.

A recommended safety helmet should be relatively cost efficient and suitable and sufficient for the general industry expected construction environment, i.e. ‘reasonably practicable’. When such a helmet is not available, similar suitable helmets should be provided. It is normally advised that the helmets should be worn for 2-3 years before they should be replaced with a newer one, or sooner if working conditions dictate. Employees should sign an acceptance sheet when issued with safety helmets so that there is a record kept of them receiving it, which can be provided as evidence if an employee submits a claim against the company if they receive a head injury when at work and can also aid in cost analysis if the employee requires a new helmet due to damage.

On large construction sites, it is generally accepted best practice to stamp helmets with the company logo or with an approved company name sticker. To accompany this, name stickers can also be stuck to the front of helmets to help with communication. Similar stickers can be provided to show that a worker is first aid trained and has received a site induction before commencing with work and after signing for his head protection.


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