Health and safety is often the butt of jokes. It is an easy target, the idea that killjoys are stopping people from getting on with running a business.
However a lot of rules regarding health and safety are simply practical. One of those that is vital to know is when companies need to supply hard hats.
Why you need hard hats
Quite simply, if companies want to avoid workers claiming compensation they need to check their working environment is reasonably safe. However, accidents can still happen. For example you could be working on a building site and accidentally drop a hammer.
From a height a hammer could cause a great deal of damage so it pays to have some form of protection when you’re working in this sort of environment.
Hard hats have been compulsory on building sites since 1990. The design is thought to have originated in the mining industry in 1898 although it was adapted for use in the building of the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco in the 1930s.
Legally, people who are working on building sites are expected to wear hard hats. The exception is for Sikhs, who cannot remove their turbans on religious grounds. Technically, people who visit construction sites are not required to wear them. However, given the potential risks involved, companies ought to insist anyone visiting the site wears them in order to minimise the risk of head injuries.
A common criticism of the hard hat design is that it is uncomfortable. This can be changed by using a flexible headband, absorbent sweatbands and chinstraps fitted with quick-release buckles that are specifically designed so they do not dig into the skin while someone is wearing them.
As well as ensuring the design conforms to British safety standards (specifically BS EN 397:1995 Specification for industrial safety helmets), it is also vital you keep your hard hats in the best possible condition:
- Keep them stored in a safe place, for example on peg or in a cupboard
- Do not store in direct sunlight, and keep away from hot or humid conditions
- Inspect them regularly for signs of wear and tear
- Remove any defective parts. If you cannot remove and replace defective parts, the hat should be replaced
- Make sure sweatbands are regularly cleaned and replaced, for hygiene as well as safety reasons
Why you might need to contact Accident Advice Helpline
In some instances a company may feel they do not need to supply hard hats. If you have been injured and you feel you were unnecessarily put at risk, contact Accident Advice Helpline as you could be entitled compensation.
Our helpline is available 24 hours a day and we have experienced legal professionals that can discuss your claim with you. Contact us today to see how we can help you!
Date Published: October 15, 2013
Author: David Brown