Page 49 - OHS, March 2021
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accessories as well, such as shields and visors, headlamp mounts, ear protection, neck protectors and more. ThThere are also various suspension options: 4, 6 or 8-point suspensions. Similarly, there are three adjustable forms: the ratchet, pin lock and one-touch. Oftften, a variety of colors and high-visibility options are offffered for more personalization. In the last few years, however, an underrated accessory has been changing the game: the chinstrap.
Hard Hat to Helmet
In 2016, the safety hard hat market was a $2.1 billion industry with no sign of decreasing in value.6 However, over the last few years the climbing, biking style helmet with chinstraps have increased in popularity. A number of large companies have added helmets to their head protection offerings. Even Bullard, the originator of the hard hat, released a helmet with a chinstrap. This new type of head protection might provide more lateral protection than a hard hat, but more importantly, it won’t fall off if a worker trips or falls. Falling has consistently been the leading cause of construction worker deaths, and more companies are beginning to recognize that change needs to happen. In 2017, Clark Construction became one of the first contractors to require employees to wear helmets instead of hard hats. The two main reasons for this implementation were the high rate of traumatic brain injuries and falls recorded in the construction industry.7
Changes are Coming
A radical shiftft of head protection can be a major change fifinancially and culturally. A study done in 2010 by Beth Rosenberg and Charles Levenstein found that over the last few decades, wearing hard hats became a symbol of “masculinity and patriotism.” Hard hats are seen by some as synonymous with a strong will and work ethic that is rooted in the bravery of the high-scalers of the 1930s. Attempting to change head protection will take time, but hopefully, wearing helmets will result in fewer injuries and deaths.
Samantha Heim is a Media Specialist at Petzl America. REFERENCES
1. years
2. hat-180974238/
5. hat-safety-rules/
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