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Building with Confidence: Head Protection Essentials for Construction Workers

Updated: Aug 18, 2023


Lady wearing head protection on a construction site

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Introduction


Safety, in our rapidly evolving world, is a crucial constant, particularly within the construction industry. Navigating the potential hazards of construction sites safely requires more than just awareness—it necessitates the use of reliable Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).


As a trusted name in PPE, workwear, consumables, and safety equipment for over 20 years, we at Tiger Supplies, are proud to be a leading UK supplier. Our wide-ranging products serve various industries, including construction, civil engineering, and manufacturing. Our unwavering commitment to safety and quality has built trust with thousands of construction companies and tradesmen. They rely on us to deliver top-notch products directly to their sites, on time, every time.


We specialise in PPE, with a diverse range that includes safety helmets, protective footwear, safety gloves, and respiratory equipment, among others. Tiger Supplies understands that construction sites' requirements are extensive and varied, so we extend our product catalogue beyond PPE. It includes a comprehensive array of site supplies such as safety signs, fire safety equipment, first aid supplies, traffic management products, and site lighting.


Understanding the unique challenges and potential dangers in the construction sector, we place particular emphasis on head protection—one of the most vital components of PPE. Its role in preventing skull and brain injuries for construction workers is paramount.


In this White Paper, we will delve into the details of head protection, discussing its importance for Construction Workers, reviewing the products we offer, and highlighting how we, at Tiger Supplies, ensure the safety of construction workers. Whether you operate in an area with a risk of falling objects or in restricted headspace, rest assured that we have the right head protection solution for you.


Join us as we explore how Tiger Supplies equips you to build with confidence, ensuring every construction worker is well-protected and geared for success.

 

Understanding the Risks: Highlighting Head Injuries in Construction



Head protection - a safety helmet in a factory going through tests

On the bustling grounds of construction sites, where towering structures and hefty machinery are commonplace, workers grapple with an array of risks. In these dynamic environments, the importance of safeguarding the head - the control centre of the body - becomes distinctly evident. To shed light on the scope of this issue, we turn our focus to head-related injuries within the construction sector.


The complex landscape of construction sites poses a diverse range of hazards. Amid the cacophony of heavy equipment, elevated work, and moving objects, the potential for head injuries looms large. A single misstep, an unfastened piece of equipment, or a moment's distraction can precipitate impacts that could result in anything from minor concussions to severe brain injuries, and in the worst cases, prove fatal.


The pressing nature of this problem becomes increasingly clear as we consider recent injury statistics. According to the RIDDOR statistics published by the Health and Safety Executive in the UK, head injuries caused by moving, flying or falling objects accounted for 13% of worker fatalities from 2014-19, and 10% of all non-fatal injuries in 2019. The picture on a broader scale is no less concerning.


In 2017, head injuries were responsible for over 22% of all fatal accidents and 6.5% of non-fatal injuries at work across the 28 member states of the EU.

These figures underscore the tangible risks that construction workers face daily, reminding us of the indispensable role of adequate safety measures.


Apart from the immediate danger posed by heavy machinery and falling objects, other hazards such as confined spaces or areas with low overhead clearance also contribute to the risk of head injuries. In such tight spots, a slight misjudgement can cause a forceful collision, leading to injuries that can be as grave as those caused by falling objects.


Furthermore, the repercussions of head injuries extend far beyond immediate physical damage. They often involve long-term consequences, including cognitive dysfunction, emotional distress, and in certain cases, irreversible disability. These potential outcomes emphasise the significance of prevention and the diligent enforcement of safety protocols on construction sites.


An understanding of head-related injuries within the construction sector reconfirms the paramount importance of quality head protection. Our role as a provider of such equipment is not merely about fulfilling legal obligations but is fundamentally driven by a commitment to the wellbeing of those who build our communities. At Tiger Supplies, we are steadfastly dedicated to this cause, offering a broad range of head protection products designed to protect the valuable lives of construction workers.

 

Legal Requirements and Regulations for Head Protection


In the quest for a safer construction industry, regulations and legal requirements form a crucial part of the picture. One key piece of legislation in this respect is the Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations 1992. This statute forms an integral part of the health and safety framework in the UK, emphasising the significance of appropriate head protection on construction sites.


This regulation mandates that employers provide suitable personal protective equipment, including safety helmets, wherever there is a risk of injury. The onus isn't solely on employers; employees too have a legal duty to use provided equipment correctly and to report any defects or loss promptly.


Our head, housing our precious brain, is integral to everything we are and do. From enabling movement and breathing to facilitating thought, emotions, and memory recall, the brain is involved in an astonishing 35,000 decisions every single day. Despite its astounding capabilities, the brain is a remarkably fragile organ, making the provision of suitable head protection an absolute necessity.


Ensuring compliance isn't just a matter of fulfilling legal obligations; it's about safeguarding the welfare of individuals who are the lifeblood of the construction industry. Non-compliance with these regulations is taken seriously and can result in hefty fines and even imprisonment.


Yet, adherence to legal requirements is not a one-size-fits-all approach. Not every hard hat is suitable for all environments and applications. While industrial hard hats sold in the UK are approved according to EN 397, this standard also offers additional optional performance tests, including for molten metal, electrical insulation, very low temperature, or lateral deformation. Therefore, it is essential to use a hard hat that has been tested for the appropriate purpose.

​At Tiger Supplies, we understand these requirements and specialisations. Our range of head protection products includes a wide variety of safety helmets, each designed to cater to specific environmental conditions and hazards. We are here to help you navigate these requirements, ensuring you choose the right equipment for your specific needs.


 

The Tiger Supplies Commitment: Ensuring Safety and

Compliance


At Tiger Supplies, we take our responsibility to safety and compliance extremely seriously. Over two decades, our company's ethos has been firmly rooted in providing top-quality Personal Protective Equipment, focusing on enhancing safety and ensuring regulatory adherence.


Our commitment extends beyond mere provision of safety helmets. We carefully curate a broad product range that satisfies the myriad of safety and comfort features, tailoring to the unique needs of each sector and its specific environment. We believe that the right equipment makes all the difference between mere compliance and genuine safety.


Our products are meticulously designed and rigorously tested, meeting and often surpassing statutory regulations. By selecting helmets that are EN 397 approved and additionally tested for specific hazards, we help our customers navigate the complexity of safety regulations with ease.


At Tiger Supplies, our focus is not just on supplying products; we are committed to creating a culture of safety awareness. Our professional team is at hand to provide expert advice and support, helping our clients select the most suitable head protection, fostering a safer working environment.


head protection symbol

What is EN 397?

EN 397 states that safety helmets must be designed to protect the wearer from falling objects.


Protection against mechanical impacts to the head safeguards the user against possible consequences such as brain injuries or skull fractures.


Industrial safety helmets that comply with standard DIN EN 397 generally meet the following safety requirements:

BINDING REQUIREMENTS

OPTIONAL REQUIREMENTS

  • Shock absorption - 5kg rounded striker dropped on the crown from 1m

  • Penetration resistance - 3kg pointed striker dropped on the crown

  • Resistance to flame - exposed to a flame for 10 seconds and then removed

  • Chin strap attachment - chin strap releases at minimum 150N and maximum 250N

  • Very low temperatures (-20 °C or -30 °C)

  • Very high temperatures (+150 °C)

  • Electrical insulation (440 V)

  • Molten metal (heated to 1400°C) - must not be penetrated more than 10mm

  • Lateral deformation - must be no more than 40mm


 

In-Depth Look: Tiger Supplies' Head Protection for construction workers


Tiger Supplies offers a comprehensive range of head protection products, ensuring the safety of workers in various industries. Our selection includes safety helmets, bump caps, and a wide range of accessories designed to provide optimal protection for the skull and brain.


Safety Helmets, commonly known as Hard Hats, are essential in sectors where there is a risk of head injuries from falling objects or restricted headspace. Our range of Safety Helmets is diverse, offering various peak lengths, ratchet types, harness options, ventilation systems, and other safety/comfort features. We provide helmets that conform to EN 397, meeting shock absorption and penetration requirements.


Additionally, we offer helmets that surpass this standard, providing extra protection against specific hazards like molten metal, electrical insulation, low temperatures, or lateral deformation.


Enhanced Protection

To enhance safety and comfort, our Safety Helmets can be paired with accessories such as Helmet Mounted Ear Defenders, Retractable Safety Spectacles, Sweatbands, and Chinstraps. These accessories further enhance the protection and convenience of the helmet.


  • Suitability - System suitable for industrial applications such as grinding due to grade B impact rating.

  • Easy Maintenance - Browguard system including Slip harness for simple cleaning and disinfection.

  • Eco-Friendly - System designed to be re-used, ensuring it is more economical and environmentally sound than single use alternatives.

  • Protection - Polycarbonate screens for maximum impact protection and Acetate screens for chemical resistance.

  • Comfort - Flexible headband, fabric sweatband and dual strap system ensure maximum comfort and personalised fit.

A Multitude of Alternatives

In addition to Safety Helmets, we offer Bump Caps, which combine the style of a baseball cap with added head protection. They are suitable for environments where safety helmets are not mandatory but still offer protection from falling objects. Bump Caps are particularly useful for warehouse workers and similar roles.



  • Conformity - Conforms to EN 812 standards.

  • Ventilation - Back mesh panel & ventilation holes on the internal shell aid cooling comfort.

  • Adjustable - Hook & loop style ratchet for adjusting size.





Our commitment to safety extends beyond meeting legal requirements. Our head protection products conform to international standards such as EN 14052 and EN 397, ensuring high performance and reliability. These standards involve rigorous testing, including impact and penetration tests, to ensure the effectiveness of our products.


An example of our head protection product is the JSP EVO VISTALens Hard Hat, which conforms to EN 397 standards. It features a visor that provides impact protection at high speeds and is compatible with prescription eyewear. The helmet is fully adjustable, lightweight, and designed for comfort, with ventilation to reduce temperature.


  • Conformity - Visor conforms to EN 166.1.FT offering impact protection at speeds of up to 100mph (160kph) whilst the helmet conforms to EN 397 standards.

  • Prescription Protection - Fully compatible with prescription eyewear, the EVO® VISTAlens® allows the individual wearer's prescription glasses to be comfortably worn underneath the integrated overspec.

  • Fully Adjustable - Pivot arms allow EVO® VISTAlens® to be retracted and deployed seamlessly. Pivots smoothly giving a wide arc allowing for prescription spectacles to be worn.

  • Ventilation - The shell is dual vented to increase comfort and allow a cooling air flow, reducing helmet temperature by an average 2-3 degrees.

 

Selecting the Right Head Protection for the Right Application


Choosing the appropriate head protection is crucial, as it should be tailored to the specific working environment and application to ensure maximum safety. Different scenarios require different equipment considerations. Here are some examples:

Electrical Works symbol

Electrical Works: When working near live electrical parts, opt for an unvented helmet that complies with the "440 V AC" optional requirement of EN 397. This provides protection against accidental contact with live conductors. Alternatively, consider helmets approved under EN 50365 for "Electrically insulating helmets for use on low voltage installations" for reliable protection against electric shock up to AC 1000 V or DC 1500 V. These helmets are commonly known as "electrician helmets." Visors for electrical works should carry EN166 "8" or GS-ET-29 markings based on the risk analysis.

Confined Space Works symbol

Confined Space Works: For confined spaces, choose short-peaked or peakless, low-profile, unvented helmets. If accessories are required, ensure that the combined helmet and accessory assembly remains compact.





Working at height symbol

Working at Height Applications: To maximise the field of vision while looking upward, opt for a short-brimmed or brimless safety helmet. It should maintain a low profile, even with attached visors or spectacles, to improve wind resistance. For applications where there is a risk of the helmet falling without the possibility of recovery, a chinstrap is mandatory. Chinstraps offer better helmet retention and improved fit, and soft fabric chinstraps approved by OEKO-TEX provide optimal comfort. Always use chinstraps or accessories approved for the specific helmet.

It is essential to address the issue of ill-fitting or uncomfortable hard hats, as workers may be inclined to remove them, compromising their safety. A comfortable and well-balanced hard hat allows workers to focus on their tasks without distractions. PPE is subject to various standards, with around 200 covering product performance and testing methods.

Key standards in head protection include:


  • EN 397 (Industrial Helmets): European standard specifying requirements for safety hats, covering shock absorption, penetration resistance, flame resistance, and chin strap anchorage.

  • EN 14052 (High-Performance Industrial Helmets): Exceeds EN 397 requirements, defining a high-impact rating for superior performance.

  • EN 12492 (Helmets for Mountaineers): Often specified for working at heights in various industries.

  • EN 50365 (Insulating Helmets for Use on Low Voltage Installations): Provides protection in electrical-based work.

  • EN 812 (Industrial Bump Caps): Intended for protection against head impacts in low-risk environments.

At Tiger Supplies, we understand the importance of selecting the right head protection for each application, and our product range complies with these industry standards to guarantee optimal safety and performance.


While the primary purpose of head protection is safety, it is crucial to consider user comfort as well. Uncomfortable or ill-fitting helmets may lead to reduced compliance, as workers may be inclined to remove or adjust them during work, compromising their safety. By prioritizing comfort in helmet design, Tiger Supplies aims to maximise long-term compliance. Our helmets are lightweight, well-ventilated, and adjustable, providing a comfortable fit that encourages workers to wear them consistently throughout the day, ensuring continuous protection.

 

Reducing Injury Risks: Embedding a Positive Safety Culture


In ensuring a safe working environment, the importance of great safety equipment cannot be overstated. However, its effectiveness relies on the willingness of employees to embrace and use it. We have already highlighted the significance of factors such as helmet comfort, ease-of-use, and style in encouraging the adoption of safety practices. Happy employees contribute to increased well-being and productivity.


To cultivate a culture of safer behaviors among your crews, consider the following ideas:


  • Lead by Example: Set the standard by consistently wearing your hard hat and other necessary PPE. Encourage your workers to do the same and emphasize the importance of looking out for one another. Demonstrating that safety improvements are a positive step forward can encourage active participation.

  • Involve Operatives in the Selection Process: Engage a small group of workers to test different hard hats and provide valuable feedback on aspects like comfort, fit, and practicality. Gathering samples from multiple manufacturers allows for a comprehensive evaluation of available options.

  • Ongoing Education on Head Protection Safety Awareness: Collaborate with hard hat manufacturers and local safety associations to provide continuous support and training to your workers.

  • Identify Hidden Risks: Organise risk hunts with your crew to actively identify potential areas that require attention and improvement. By involving your workers, you tap into their firsthand knowledge and observations.

  • Share Real-World Accident Examples: Illustrate the consequences of not wearing or selecting appropriate head protection. The aim is not to frighten workers but to develop a heightened sense of safety awareness.

  • Foster Incident Transparency: Create a no-blame culture that encourages workers to report mistakes, investigate incidents, and learn from them to prevent their recurrence. By promoting a culture of openness, valuable lessons can be gained.

By implementing these strategies, you can cultivate a positive safety culture within your organisation. Remember, each worker plays a crucial role as a safety leader. By setting an example, involving workers in decision-making, providing education and training, identifying risks, sharing real-world examples, and promoting transparency, you establish a foundation for a safer working environment where safety becomes second nature to all.


 

Conclusion

Man at work site in head protection gear

In conclusion, ensuring safety in the construction industry is paramount, and head protection plays a crucial role in safeguarding construction workers from the risks they face daily. Tiger Supplies, as a trusted and reputable supplier of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), has demonstrated a steadfast commitment to safety and compliance throughout this white paper.


By understanding the specific risks associated with construction work and the legal requirements for head protection, Tiger Supplies has positioned itself as an authority in the field. Their comprehensive range of head protection products, including safety helmets, bump caps, and accessories, caters to diverse industry needs and meets stringent international standards.


Tiger Supplies is the trusted partner that construction companies can rely on for their head protection needs. Their expertise, professionalism, and adherence to safety regulations make them the go-to supplier in the industry. By choosing Tiger Supplies, construction professionals can build with confidence, knowing that they have a reliable partner dedicated to their safety and well-being.


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