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Don´t wear a hoody under your hard hat!

Article first published December 2016 by JSP Ltd

It´s the time of year when the temperature drops and workers on outdoor sites have started to wrap up warm. In many situations, such as working on a construction site, it is also a requirement to wear suitable head protection such as an EN397 industrial safety helmet. We start to see a large number of workers wearing their hoodies or beanie hats under their safety helmets to keep warm. This not only endangers themselves by compromising the fit of the helmet but also others if the helmet were to fall off their head from height.

When visiting a construction site we were fortunate enough (or misfortunate enough) to witness and catch on camera the dangers of wearing a hoody or beany under your safety helmet. Below are a series of pictures that clearly illustrate the dangers.

1. A construction worker wearing a hoody underneath his safety helmet.
1. Worker wearing a hoody under his safety helmet.
2. Because of the hoody the poorly fitting safety helmet falls easily from his head.
1. Worker wearing a hoody under his safety helmet.
3. In reaction to it falling he drops what he is doing attempting to catch the helmet.
1. Worker wearing a hoody under his safety helmet.
4. The helmet falls several floors down to ground level endangering anyone below.
1. Worker wearing a hoody under his safety helmet.

What were the effects of this?

Luckily in the situation above nobody was passing below when the safety helmet fell. If someone had been hit, because of the height even wearing head protection themselves they could have been severely injured. Without realising it the individual wearing the hoody affected the safety of himself and others in many ways.

• Narrowed his field of vision increasing chance of collision with machinery and other dangers.
• Exposed his own head placing himself in danger of head injury.
• Dropped what he was holding by reacting to catch the falling safety helmet. This could have injured his colleague who was assisting him or the object could have fallen with the helmet.
• Endangered individuals passing below with the falling helmet.

After the event the worker collected his helmet from the fall and placed it back onto his head. This was a big mistake as after closer inspection the long drop had caused a crack in the safety helmet compromising the protection it provides. We must also mention that the worker had to walk down several floors of the construction site in order to retrieve the helmet without any head protection.
Careys Worker Hoodie With Helmet
After falling from a great height the safety helmet cracked.
A safety helmet is designed to withstand a single lifesaving impact. Any significant knock to the helmet even falling from the wearers head should result in the replacement of the helmet. A worker is by far the most valuable commodity on site and safety should never be compromised.

What does the HSE say about suitable head protection?
The HSE lists the following when referring to suitable head protection

Head protection should:
• be in good condition. If it´s damaged, throw it away
• fit the person wearing it and be worn properly
• not stop wearing hearing protectors as well (when needed)
• only be obtained from a reputable supplier – there are fake hard hats on the market

You can find out more about the HSE view on head protection here


Why is it bad to wear a hoody or a beany under a safety helmet?
By wearing a hoody / beanie (or other winter hat) under your safety helmet you are interfering with the fit of the harness. Wearing anything underneath the helmet means that it cannot be fitted, adjusted or worn to the manufacturer´s safety requirements putting yourself and others in danger.

A hoody also reduces your field of vision. This greatly increases the chance of an accident as the wearer may be unaware of oncoming plant machinery, trip or fall hazards or other individuals working.

What can we safely wear to keep our heads warm on site?
As a manufacturer of industrial head protection we advise that best practice would be to only use manufacturer approved head warmers under your safety helmet. This will ensure you receive the best possible fit for your safety helmet without compromising on safety. Click here to view JSP´s approved products

Why should I not wear a baseball cap under my safety helmet?
Many caps can feature a metal ‘button´ on the top. This small piece of metal could increase the chance of electrical currents passing through the shell of your safety helmet and forfeiting any electrical standards that it may adhere to.

Contact us

We hope that you have found this information useful. If you would like any further advise on this subject then feel free to contact the team at JSP® Ltd:

Telephone: +44 1993 826050

Thank you to Paul Johnson (Group HSEQT Director for Careys PLC) for allowing us to use the images of this incident that we captured whilst visting one of their sites.
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