Picture of the day: Shield your Head


In a time of speedy technological improvement, it’s straightforward to overlook that you’ve a really highly effective moveable laptop with you on a regular basis your mind

Sadly, similar to a transportable laptop, your mind is fragile and its packaging isn’t robust sufficient to guard it from all shocks or impacts. So, you should select applicable safety to your mind and head.

Head harm remains to be one of the crucial frequent causes of deadly harm in accidents. Selecting the best head safety, after which utilizing it appropriately, isn’t that tough and can shield each your well being and your pockets.

This Picture of the day and article offers an outline, together with among the elements of head safety that aren’t so well-known.

  • Why is head safety necessary?
  • Head safety requirements
  • Building accidents

Why is head safety necessary?

Head safety in PPE phrases is taken into account as safety in opposition to influence harm and a few burn accidents. It typically protects the scalp space, and generally the jaw. The face is mostly not included, apart from some sports activities helmets. Eye and face safety, noise safety and respiratory safety are separate forms of PPE. Protecting clothes requirements embrace defending the top from chemical, organic, and radioactive hazards.

Head accidents

Head accidents will be very sophisticated – some are apparent when the accident occurs however others seem hours or days after the accident. A head harm entails totally different sorts of harm to the cranium and its contents. This may increasingly additionally embrace neck accidents. Various kinds of head accidents usually occur in a single accident.

Put very merely, the mind doesn’t fill the cranium – somewhat than being fastened firmly in place it “floats” contained in the cranium. Additionally, the mind and its blood vessels are comfortable and will be broken by contact with the within of the cranium and by being compressed or twisted. Clearly, if the cranium is damaged then the mind will be broken by direct contact – an open head harm. However the mind may also be broken with out direct contact if it hits the within of the cranium or is twisted on the highest of the spinal twine – a closed head harm. For instance, in a extreme whiplash automobile accident, there will be injury to the mind from being shaken in opposition to the cranium, in addition to neck accidents.

Medical analysis has supplied a number of helpful info on the forms of head accidents occurring in accidents, and the way these accidents are triggered. Nonetheless, as a result of head accidents will be so sophisticated, the precise mechanisms that trigger these accidents are nonetheless not clearly understood.

When there’s an influence to the top, there are accelerations and rotations of each the top and the mind inside the top. Analysis research have outlined the influence forces and accelerations which trigger some forms of head harm. These information come from a mixture of accident and casualty information, and assessments on cadavers, animals, and volunteers. As a result of we’re all totally different, our particular person “head harm tolerances” are totally different. So, the forces and/or accelerations which might be prone to trigger head accidents are given as a spread, and never as single values. For instance, the power to fracture the cranium inflicting severe harm (and possibly demise) is within the vary of 600 to 20000 N, with the standard power for a wholesome 25-year-old male prone to be round 3500 to 5000 N. Equally, reasonable or extra extreme concussion has been discovered to happen round 3000 N upward.

The overall goals of head safety are then quite simple:

  • To scale back the extent of the power/acceleration on the top to an “acceptable” stage
  • To forestall objects from reducing or penetrating the top

Clearly, the necessary query here’s what is an “acceptable” stage of harm? I’ll return to this later.

How does head safety scale back the extent of the power/acceleration on the top?

There are two key mechanisms:

  • A few of the vitality of an influence is absorbed by the top safety which reduces the power/acceleration sustained by the top
  • The length of the influence is elevated in order that, for a similar vitality, the utmost power/acceleration on the top is decrease

In easy phrases, head safety will act just like the crumple zone in your automobile. It absorbs among the vitality and spreads out the time of the influence. Excessive-speed video of a tough hat throughout influence reveals the helmet trying very like jelly – it wobbles and deforms, which absorbs vitality. In fact, head safety should even be robust sufficient to guard the top from penetration. And, similar to the crumple zone in your automobile, head safety ought to be changed after an accident!

Laws and wise threat administration

Head safety typically falls beneath the identical rules as different PPE – within the UK that is The PPE at Work Laws 1992 2 and The PPE Laws 2002 3. Some key factors of those rules are:

  • Head safety ought to solely be used after a threat evaluation has been made
  • Head safety ought to be chosen, used, and maintained appropriately
  • Head safety ought to be CE marked (to indicate that it meets the important security necessities of the PPE Directive 89/686/EEC)

Appropriate choice, use, care, and upkeep are important so that you can get the perfect efficiency out of your head safety. All head safety ought to include full directions, and the producer or provider can present extra info. It is best to at all times comply with the producer’s directions.

There could also be different particular nationwide rules that require head safety. Within the UK the Building (Head Safety) Laws 1989 and Docks Laws 1988 each require appropriate security helmets to be worn the place there’s a foreseeable threat of harm to the top.

As for all wise threat administration, you should assess the hazards and dangers and take steps to scale back the dangers till they’re “as little as is fairly practicable” (ALARP). As a result of head safety solely protects the wearer and doesn’t take away the hazard it’s the final line of protection. Earlier than selecting PPE it is best to attempt to take away the hazard or make the hazard much less extreme. For instance:

  • Attempt to keep away from having walkways beneath work areas the place one thing could be dropped
  • Attempt to shut off work areas above the bottom in order that nothing can drop from them
  • Create exclusion areas the place there’s heavy lifting overhead Most significantly, do not forget that head safety doesn’t provide 100% safety in opposition to all hazards – it solely protects in opposition to outlined hazards and solely reduces accidents to an appropriate stage.

Head safety requirements

Chances are you’ll usually see requirements referred to, however have you learnt what they do?

Similar to different PPE, most head safety is CE marked in opposition to the necessities of a harmonized CEN commonplace. Assembly the necessities of a harmonized commonplace implies that the important necessities of the PPE Directive (89/686/EEC) have additionally been met, and the CE mark will likely be accompanied by the related commonplace quantity. Requirements additionally provide the benefits of:

  • Setting a specification that producers, regulators, and shoppers can use
  • Giving an outlined minimal safety efficiency in order that merchandise will be simply in contrast

Head safety requirements set efficiency necessities for the:

  • Resistance to penetration (by a pointy object)
  • Shock absorption throughout influence
  • Retention on the top
  • Markings and data for the consumer
  • Particular necessities for every sort of head safety

Consolation and wearability points are usually not very effectively addressed in present requirements. One of many main causes for that is that it is vitally tough to plan goal assessments to measure such subjective components. Nonetheless, work continues to enhance head safety requirements’ capability to handle consolation. For instance, assessments that might measure the air flow of the top when sporting head safety are being researched, as this might be used as an indicator of possible thermal consolation for evaluating head safety.

Requirements take a look at strategies

As I mentioned earlier than, head accidents will be sophisticated, and the precise mechanisms that trigger accidents are usually not understood. So, how do requirements writers outline take a look at strategies and efficiency necessities?

All assessments are performed with head safety mounted on a man-made take a look at head.

Penetration assessments are straightforward – a pointy object hitting the top safety with given vitality should not contact the take a look at head.

Shock absorption assessments are tougher. A blunt object hits the top safety (on a take a look at head) with a given vitality. Completely different shapes of the blunt object are used in line with the possible hazard e.g. a kerbstone form is utilized in some motorbike helmet requirements. For requirements the place a falling object is the principle hazard, the item falls onto the top safety. For requirements the place the wearer falling over is the principle hazard, the top safety plus take a look at head falls on the item. Both means, a restrict must be set on the power/acceleration transmitted to the take a look at head when the helmet is worn: this restrict is meant to correspond to an appropriate stage of harm. Setting this restrict which is tough, and requires the requirements writers to make use of present medical data and expertise of how head safety performs in use. In the meanwhile, limits on the linear power or acceleration transmitted to the take a look at head are used for shock absorption efficiency.

What’s an “acceptable” stage of harm?

This relies on what the harm can be with out head safety.

  • If the harm with out head safety is a bump on the top or a lower, then an appropriate harm might be not more than a light headache (e.g. the commercial bump cap)
  • If the harm with out head safety is a cranium fracture and/or reasonable mind harm, then acceptable harm might be not more than a concussion and bruising (e.g. the commercial security helmet)
  • If the harm with out head safety is a significant cranium fracture and/or severe mind harm which might be deadly, then an appropriate harm could be as excessive as minor fractures and delicate mind harm (e.g. the motorbike helmet)

Head safety requirements have an introduction together with phrases like “the safety given by a helmet relies on the circumstances of the accident and sporting a helmet can’t at all times stop demise or long-term incapacity.”

This emphasizes once more that head safety doesn’t provide 100% safety. And, for head safety simply as for different PPE, growing the extent of safety means heavier and bulkier tools which can make working tough and introduce its personal hazards comparable to thermal discomfort or musculoskeletal issues.

Why gained’t head safety at all times shield me?

Let’s take into account some possible accidents.

Building accidents

A brick drops from the second flooring and hits a employee sporting an industrial security helmet. If the brick weighs 1 kg and drops 5 m earlier than influence then it has an vitality of roughly 50 J. The helmet commonplace makes use of a 50 J influence for shock absorption, so the helmet ought to shield the employee from no worse than a concussion and bruising – the meant acceptable harm. Substitute the brick with a pallet of fifty bricks dropping from the identical peak. The influence vitality is now about 2500 J.

That is effectively above the vitality used to check for shock absorption, so the helmet is now not in its examined efficiency zone. The helmet will scale back the severity of the influence and the extent of harm, however by an unsure quantity. If a 2500 J influence lasts 0.1 s then the power is roughly 5000 N.  And not using a helmet this is sufficient to fracture the cranium inflicting extreme harm or demise. Even with the helmet, that is prone to be a significant harm, possibly nonetheless deadly.

This is the reason it is best to create exclusion areas the place there’s heavy lifting overhead – head safety isn’t designed to guard in opposition to very heavy falling objects.

Bike accidents

Now take into account a bike accident the place the rider is thrown off and hits a wall with their head in order that their entire physique weight is concerned. That is the worst case for head influence and harm. At round simply 6 mph, for an 80 kg rider, the vitality is roughly 5000 J. The most effective motorbike helmet makes use of a 150 J influence for shock absorption. So, once more, the helmet is now not in its examined efficiency zone and can scale back the extent of harm by an unsure quantity. Even with the helmet, that is prone to be a significant harm, possibly deadly.

These figures are NOT a motive for not sporting a helmet, they only illustrate how giant the forces on the top will be in a “minor” accident.

Many accidents don’t contain the entire physique weight, however solely a proportion of it. Equally, many impacts are usually not full-on however glancing. So, even at greater speeds or greater nominal influence energies, the helmet will be inside its efficiency zone, the place its safety is thought. And if the helmet is exterior its efficiency zone it would nonetheless scale back the influence forces on the top. It’s simply that this discount might not be large enough to stop severe harm or demise.

The various kinds of head safety

In case you point out head safety most individuals will consider exhausting hats or motorbike helmets. However there are various different forms of head safety. Though head safety will be conveniently cut up into industrial (or office) and leisure classes, leisure head safety is commonly used within the office. The emergency providers and the army have their very own head safety requirements but in addition use industrial and leisure head safety.

Industrial head safety

Desk 1 summarizes the safety provided by the UK and European Requirements.

Bump caps provide low safety and are usually not meant to guard in opposition to falling or transferring objects. They’re appropriate the place the danger is strolling into objects e.g. in warehouses and garages. Bump caps can be found in each security helmet and baseball cap kinds. The baseball cap model is standard as a result of it seems to be extra trendy and is commonly extra comfy. That is one other necessary consider deciding on head safety – if the wearers prefer it and discover it comfy they’ll put on it.

Industrial security helmets (the ever present exhausting hat) provide medium safety in opposition to a spread of hazards, with choices for cover (e.g. electrical shock from transient contact with stay wires, molten steel splash) that could be wanted in some workplaces. They’re appropriate for a variety of workplaces. Variations with lowered peaks can be found to provide higher upward visibility. Some have air flow holes to enhance consolation – these holes should not have an effect on the safety. Liners will be worn beneath the helmet in chilly climate.

Security helmets should be capable to match an adjustable chinstrap. A chinstrap may be very helpful for retaining the helmet in your head, particularly if you find yourself bending so much. It’s a superb concept to provide helmets with chinstraps. There are common accidents the place the harm is worse as a result of the helmet had fallen off, or the wearer had obtained sick of the helmet falling off and had taken it off. The chinstrap is designed to launch beneath a load. Though totally different merchandise look very related, they will really feel totally different when worn due to totally different weights, the middle of gravity, and many others. Sweatbands could make a helmet really feel extra comfy.

Industrial security helmets are sometimes used with different PPE, the place it is vitally necessary that there’s full compatibility. If the PPE or head safety doesn’t match correctly due to the opposite PPE then it is not going to provide its full safety. There are numerous choices for helmet-mounted PPE e.g. ear defenders, visors, and many others. which keep away from compatibility issues.

The high-performance industrial security helmet is much like the commercial security helmet however presents larger influence safety. The usual has not one of the design restrictions of the commercial security helmet (minimal helmet to move clearances and many others). So, foam liners, and many others might be used if the safety efficiency is achieved. It is a latest commonplace so there aren’t many merchandise accessible but.

Desk 1

The marine security helmet makes use of a UK PAS, which is an agreed trade specification and never a full commonplace. It’s a helmet particularly designed for customers of small, quick craft comparable to lifeboat crews. The chinstrap is designed to not launch.

There are different requirements that embrace industrial head safety. Some PPE ensemble requirements could embrace their very own necessities for elements of head safety, though they might additionally reference head safety requirements.

There may be additionally industrial PPE which makes use of the time period “helmet” however isn’t strictly head safety.

“Welding helmets” typically face shields/visors with a hood over the top. They’re meant to guard the eyes and face in opposition to welding radiation and spatter and should not provide head safety.

“Shotblasting helmets” are a type of hood meant to supply respiratory and abrasion safety. Safety in opposition to falling objects is non-obligatory (and makes use of take a look at strategies from BS EN 397).

There isn’t a British or European Normal for “ATV helmets” (ATV – all-terrain car or quad bike), “chainsaw helmets”, or “forestry helmets”. These are names for forms of helmets which might be CE accredited both by technical file or by use of one other Normal. Sometimes, ATV helmets are CE accredited in opposition to some or all of BS EN 1384 (equestrian helmets). Chainsaw and forestry helmets are typically CE accredited in opposition to some or all of BS EN 397 (industrial security helmets).  Because of this there isn’t any assure that totally different ATV helmets are immediately comparable with different ATV helmets. Equally, there isn’t any assure that totally different chainsaw or forestry helmets are immediately comparable with different chainsaw or forestry helmets. The producer can provide particulars of how a helmet was CE accredited.

Chinstraps – to launch or to not launch

Why do some chinstraps launch when a given power is utilized? The intention is to scale back the danger of strangulation. If a helmet grew to become caught in order that the wearer hung by the chinstrap with their ft off the bottom, a chinstrap that doesn’t launch may strangle them.

However, it isn’t that straightforward. If a helmet is meant for accidents the place there’s a couple of influence, then a releasing chinstrap may launch the helmet early on and depart the top unprotected for later impacts.

So, the steadiness of strangulation versus a number of influence dangers has been thought of when deciding whether or not a regular can have a releasing chinstrap. This is the reason the helmets the place a number of impacts is probably going all have non-releasing chinstraps.

Head safety lifetime and substitute

That is probably the most frequent query that I’m requested about head safety. The next feedback apply to any helmet used as PPE, though they’re written with the BS EN 397 industrial security helmet in thoughts. I’m not conscious of any common authorized or UK HSE necessities on particular substitute instances. Some industries could have codes of apply or steering which specify a given substitute time. Some workplaces/firms could have security procedures that specify a given substitute time.


A security helmet ought to be changed when or earlier than its protecting capability has been considerably lowered. The producer of the helmet is the supply of steering when deciding on a substitute coverage. 3 years from manufacture is a extensively accepted lifetime for helmets. It is a wise “rule of thumb” lifetime, nevertheless, it is necessary that the consumer workouts some discretion. If the working or storage surroundings topics the helmet to untimely growing older it might be advisable to scale back the substitute time. Hostile environments embrace publicity to UV (together with daylight) and publicity to chemical assaults (together with vapor within the environment). The producer of the helmet will present recommendation on environmental components.

If the helmet suffers an influence, it makes use of up a few of its protecting capabilities and ought to be changed, no matter age. REPLACE THE WHOLE HELMET AND NOT JUST THE SHELL OR CRADLE. When a helmet has been uncovered to common small bangs and knocks, and is badly worn and scratched it must also get replaced. The most effective rule is “if doubtful, exchange”.

Manufacture date

The date of manufacture will likely be discovered on the helmet as a everlasting marking, as required by EN 397. It’s often given as 1 / 4 and 12 months and is commonly on the underside of the height. This marking can take totally different varieties e.g. dials with arrows, dots for the quarter and a 12 months, and many others. Different head safety requirements may additionally require manufacture date markings on the top safety.

In abstract, there’s a variety of head safety appropriate for nearly all of your wants. In case you apply wise threat administration and an appreciation of the restrictions of the safety provided by head safety then you may maintain your head protected for its designed lifetime.

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Shield your Head

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