Anyone doing construction work is subject to some pretty brutal weather conditions all year round. Understandably so, at the peak of a summer’s heat wave, the last thing you may be interested in adding to your attire is a bulky hard hat before stepping into your construction zone. But on a very basic level, helmets and hard hats are crucial to the well-being of everyone on a contractor’s payroll.
While there are no specifications by job title as to who should and should not be wearing a protective helmet within a work area, the OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) guidelines provide examples of roles in which hard hat wear is beneficial. These include, “carpenters, electricians, lineman, mechanics and repairers, plumbers and pip fitters, assemblers, packers, wrappers, sawyers, welders, laborers, freight handlers, timber cutting and logging, stock handlers, and warehouse laborers.
The textbook language involved in understanding the safety issues of helmets and hard hats safety is fairly overwhelming, but when you take a look at what’s recommended for the Service Life of this equipment, it becomes much clearer how the cons of wearing a big, bulky helmet are overshadowed by the pros:
Beyond the obvious benefits of wearing a helmet, such as having things dropped on your head, being hit from the side, or coming into contact with electrical shocks, ultraviolet (UV) radiation is an element that your helmet is defending you from that you may not have even considered, and the damage it causes is easy to see; your once shiny, new helmet will become weathered and appear chalky after its surface has been deteriorated by repeated use in direct sunlight. If the sun can do that to your helmet, imagine the alternative of what it could do to your head! The OSHA suggests immediately replacing your helmet once the damage caused by UV radiation causes its shell to start flaking away. A helmet is a cheap alternative to dealing with the degradation of your head!
If looking too much like the rest of the pack is one of your causes for concern, the OSHA has already addressed some of the issues you may have. It is fully acceptable to paint or adhere stickers to the outside of your helmet if you feel the need to personalize it a bit. In addition, hard hats marked with the “reverse donning arrow” icon are approved to be worn backwards, if that’s more your style.
While there’s no questioning that wearing a hard hat while at work makes the job much sweatier, the risk of going without one could easily result in injuries that would pull you out of work altogether, and nobody wants that. Protecting your head is protecting your ability to work and to provide for yourself and your family, so strap on your helmet and get out there!