The Occupational Safety and Health Administration will start having its employees wear safety helmets instead of hard hats, according to ConstructionConnect. The helmets will better protect against head injuries while employees are inspecting job sites.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported in 2020 that head injuries accounted for about 6 percent of non-fatal occupational injuries. Workers encountering objects or equipment caused almost half of those injuries, and slips, trips and falls caused about 20 percent.
OSHA recently published a Safety and Health Information Bulletin outlining the key differences between traditional hard hats and more modern safety helmets, as well as the advancements in design, materials and other features that help protect workers’ entire heads better.
According to OSHA, traditional hard hats protect the top of a worker’s head but have minimal side impact protection and also lack chin straps, adding that without the straps, hard hats can fall off a worker’s head if they slip or trip, leaving them unprotected. In addition, hard hats lack vents and trap heat inside.
Modern safety helmets may also offer face shields or goggles to protect against projectiles, dust and chemical splashes, and may have built-in hearing protection and/or communication systems to enable clear communication in noisy environments.
OSHA recommends safety helmets be used by people working in the construction and oil and gas industries; in high-temperature, specialized work and low-risk environments; performing tasks involving electrical work and working from heights; and when required by regulations or industry standards.