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Neglecting the Hard Hat

hard-hats_511x218The Bureau of Labor Statistics conducted a survey on worksite accidents and injuries earlier this year and found 84 percent of all workers who suffered from head injuries were not wearing hard hats. Interestingly, the survey found that over 50 percent of those injured were struck in the head while looking down, and about one third of workers received head injuries after running into stationary objects. Using hard hats would have dramatically reduced the severity of those injuries, if not eliminate them all together.

A report by GIS listed three factors that contribute to hard hat neglect:

  1. Discomfort – Many workers find their hard hats either too heavy or too hot for continuous wear, increasing the likelihood of employees taking off their hard hats during work. New styles of hard hats aim to alleviate these discomforts. With new methods of air ventilation and adding more suspension points, hard hats are becoming more comfortable to wear for long periods of time.
  2. Disassociation with safety issues – In many cases, the BLS found that employers were not educating their workers on proper equipment maintenance. Couple this training with the importance of wearing properly fitting hard hats. By making hard hats a point of conversation, you elevate them from simple PPE to a critical component of every day work.
  3. Lack of enforcement – The survey also showed that in most instances where head injuries occurred, employers had not required their employees to wear head protection. Enforcing proper and required PPE is the number one step an employer can take to help mitigate risk of injury.

“In almost half of the accidents involving head injuries, employees knew of no actions taken by employers to prevent such injuries from recurring”

A staggering number of employers fail to take action after head injuries occur out on the job site. While drastic action is rarely needed, safety refreshers are crucial steps to take after a work related head injury. Generating awareness and information on proper safety habits will greatly reduce the occurrence of head-related injuries.

For risk management consultation, or for more information on hard hat regulations, feel free to contact The Integrated Group at info@theintegratedgroup.com or 425-822-8500

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