The scaffolding industry is continuously evolving, with a recent shift towards heightened safety measures taking precedence. At Starr Industries, we have taken the decision to replace traditional hard hats with safety helmets on our work sites. For years, hard hats have been the staple in construction site safety gear. However, the industry is now transitioning towards the use of safety helmets, recognized for their superior protection, especially for workers exposed to height-related hazards.
Safety Helmets Vs. Hard Hats
In terms of safety standards, there’s no distinction between hard hats and safety helmets; both conform to ANSI Z89.1-2014 and EN standards. Nevertheless, the growing trend towards safety helmets is attributed to their enhanced level of safety for workers dealing with elevated work positions and potential fall risks.
The Rise of Climbing-Style Safety Helmets
Interestingly, the safety helmets finding their way onto construction sites are repurposed climbing helmets. Although the terms ‘climbing helmet’ and ‘safety helmet’ are often used interchangeably, it’s crucial to note the difference.
Climbing helmets purchased from outdoor recreation stores should not be used in construction or industrial settings. Although climbing helmets offer excellent impact protection, they are not tested to meet the specific ANSI or EN ratings required for work sites.
As part of our commitment to worker safety, we have chosen the Superplasma HD HI VIZ safety helmet for our team. These helmets are renowned for their advanced features, which include an ABS external shell, HD Polystyrene internal shell, a soft PA nylon headband, and mountable ear defenders. Importantly, these safety helmets comply with the ANSI Z89.1 and EN 12492 ratings, demonstrating their conformity with industry safety standards.
Understanding helmet ratings can be crucial in selecting the right protective headgear. Both ANSI and European EN ratings are important to consider. In addition to ANSI ratings, you will often see helmets and hard hats with EN ratings, specifically EN 12492, the European standard for climbing helmets. This standard is typically used for headgear for outdoor height activities, mountain climbers, and forestry workers.
EN 12492 rated helmets undergo rigorous testing to ensure they provide adequate protection. They are required to pass tests for shock absorption on all sides, penetration resistance, chinstrap strength, and retention—the helmet’s ability to stay securely on the wearer’s head.
Understanding ANSI Standards: Type I and Type II
ANSI standards classify both hard hats and safety helmets into two types. Type I is designed to protect the head from “top of head” impacts, while Type II provides protection against “top of head” impacts as well as lateral impacts – blows to the sides, front, and back of the head.
Historically, Type I hard hats have been the most popular due to their affordability. However, we are now witnessing a shift, with companies and workers looking to upgrade from Type I hard hats starting to choose Type II safety helmets over Type II hard hats.
Why Safety Helmets?
Safety helmets offer superior lateral impact protection compared to traditional hard hats. Combined with straps, safety helmets stay secure even when a worker trips or falls, a situation where Type I and Type II hard hats are likely to fall off. This feature makes safety helmets a safer option for workers.
The adoption of safety helmets by Starr Industries underscores our commitment to prioritize worker safety, not just by meeting standards but by going beyond and choosing equipment that offers superior protection.Read More