Does discomfort cause your workers stress and fatigue while on the job? Does stress and fatigue impact your workers’ ability to perform their job efficiently and/or effectively? Are your workers focused on their personal comfort when they should be focused on the job at hand? If you answered ‘yes’ to any of these questions, will your workers be less tempted to remove their head protection if it is more comfortable? Will that lead to less injuries? Is comfort a priority? If not, why?
What Can Help Achieve Comfortable Head Protection Fit?
When selecting head protection for employees, compliance is critical, but comfort can also be an essential component that safety managers and others should focus on when evaluating personal protective equipment (PPE) choices. Some available head protection options feature pressure diffusion technology, which means the headband incorporates self-adjusting front paddles along the wearer’s forehead, self-adjusting as the ratchet is tightened. This helps create a more personalized fit and helps to reduce forehead pressure. So, what does this mean? Less pressure — and a well-adjusted fit — helps achieve more comfort, which can help workers stay comfortable all day long and help them want to keep their head protection in place.
It is also important to consider that when working outdoors, ultraviolet (UV) rays can cause damage to hard hats by making them brittle through prolonged exposure over time. This reduces the hard hat’s performance and can compromise the safety of the wearer. Even more challenging is that it can be difficult to tell the difference between a new and aged hard hat. One way to evaluate the condition of a hard hat is to select head protection that comes with sensors that visually cue when it is time to replace the hard hat due to UV exposure.
What Other Factors Should Be Considered When Selecting Head Protection?
When evaluating head protection for comfort, safety, and compliance, you should also consider:
- Is it modular designed to meet specific job requirements?
- Is it designed for compatibility with other PPE without sacrificing fit, comfort, or protection?
- Do your workers have a need for reflective material on their hard hats? If yes, is this material highly reflective, durable, and easy to inspect for continuing performance*? Do the materials continue to reflect even when wet so workers can see each other and help avoid collisions and other incidents that could result in injury or even worse?
Not all head protection is created equal. There is much to consider when selecting this type of PPE, including how to help ensure that workplace safety compliance standards are met. It’s important to remember that comfort may have a direct impact on compliance because workers who are comfortable while wearing their head protection may be less inclined to remove it while working and engaged in dangerous tasks and/or applications.
*A reflectomer is required to measure reflectivity.