Don’t be a hard head: Wear your hard hat

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A man was delivering supplies on a construction site, and he left his hard hat in his truck. Without warning, a tape measure fell from 400 feet above, hit him in the head and killed him. This is a real-life incident that shows the importance of wearing your hard hat. You must wear head protection if objects might fall from above and strike you on the head, you might bump your head against fixed objects, or your head could come in contact with electrical hazards. Here are a few simple tips for choosing the right hard hat for the job, wearing it properly and taking care of it.

Understand the types of hard hats

Hard hats are divided into three classes:

  • Class A hard hats provide impact and penetration resistance, along with limited voltage protection (up to 2,200 volts).
  • Class B hard hats provide the highest level of protection against electrical hazards, with high-voltage shock and burn protection (up to 20,000 volts). They also provide protection from impact and penetration hazards by flying/falling objects.
  • Class C hard hats provide lightweight comfort and impact protection but offer no protection from electrical hazards.

Wear it well

  • Never wear metal hard hats around electrical work.
  • Don’t rely on bump caps. They don’t protect you against falling or flying objects.
  • Adjust your hard hat so you have enough clearance between the shell and the suspension system for ventilation and impact distribution.
  • Don’t put anything under your hard hat except your head. That includes cigarettes or notebooks.
  • Don’t wear your hard hat backward.

Take care of your hard hat

The better care you take of your hard hat, the better care it will take of you. Don’t cut holes in your hard hat for ventilation, bend it, paint it or put stickers on it. Periodically clean and inspect your hard hat for holes, cracks, tears and other damage. Remember that paints, paint thinners and some cleaning products can weaken the shell and eliminate electrical resistance. If you see signs of damage, stop using the hard hat immediately. Finally, don’t store your hard hat in direct sunlight. Extreme heat can damage it.

Don’t rely on your hard hat

In the case of the man that died due to a falling measuring tape, a hard hat might have saved the man’s life. Still, there is no substitute for safe work practices

. We can protect ourselves if we:

  • Secure tools to keep them from falling.
  • Use toe boards, guard rails, screens, catch platforms, canopies and debris nets to catch falling objects.
  • Avoid working under suspended loads.
  • Stack materials to prevent sliding, falling and collapsing.
  • Inspect cranes and hoists to see that all components are in good condition.
  • Do not exceed the lifting capacity of cranes and hoists.

Stay Safe!

Source: Texas Mutual Insurance Company

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