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Traditionally, hard hats were allocated to construction sites to protect workers from falling objects and to protect themselves in other potential construction accidents. Safety helmets were used by bicyclists, motorcyclists, and in other sports. The lines became blurred as safety technologies advanced and newer models were replaced. Nowadays, old-fashioned hard hats are articles of the past.
The evolution of the hard hat began a century ago when shipbuilders wanted to protect their heads from falling objects. The first stage was shipbuilders covering their regular hats with tar. In later years, protective hats were made from steamed canvas, aluminum, steel, leather, plastic, and fiberglass. Today, the most common element used is polyethylene. Some hard hats come with visors, lights, face shields, radios, and ventilation. The next stage was evolving standard construction safety helmets.
Helmets are generally used to protect someone’s head when operating objects such as bikes, ATVs, and skateboards. They are also worn by outdoor sports aficionados and rescue workers. Outdoor enthusiasts normally attach helmets closer to their head with chin straps; these helmets typically do not have brims. Newer features of safety helmets may include Hi Viz materials, ear protection, and attachable visors.
Construction hard hats have remained the same over the past 40 years, but Bloomberg BNA claims that this is changing. Bloomberg BNA recently posted designs of helmets for construction workers. These helmets were originally designed for mountain climbing and other outdoor sports. The main reason for this is so that helmets have better side impact protection and do not fall off during impact. The safety director of Skanska USA Commercial Development, explained that a hard hat may fall off when a worker falls and jerks their head.
Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) classifies head protection into different classes and types. These classifications also coincide with the American National Standards Institute (ANSI). OSHA also requires that employers provide head safety gear that meets or exceeds industry standards. Each class indicates protection from an electrical accident and each type indicates the protection level from an impact. The following are three different classes provided by OSHA:
The following are two types of helmets that are classified by the OSHA:
Understandably, modern construction helmets have pros and cons. The helmets provide security from side impacts with a lifespan up to 10 years; helmets are also more stable with chin straps. However, they can be costly, prices range from 100 dollars to 150 dollars each. In contrast, hard hats average around 15 dollars with some models feeling too heavy on the head. Another barrier is a worker’s preference. Hard hats have a long association with construction workers and many workers may not want to change the traditional appearance and feel of standard hard hats.
If you were injured in a construction accident while at work, you may be eligible for compensation. Our devoted Wilmington work injury lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow support workers who have suffered injuries from a construction accident. Contact us online or call us at 302-427-9500 for a free consultation about your case. Located in Wilmington, Bear, and Milford, we also represent clients in Elsmere and Seaford, Delaware.
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