In this post you’ll learn
- Why is head protection important
- Difference between Bump Caps and Hard Hats
- When should a Hard Hat or a Bump Cap be used
Thousands of workers encounter head injuries at work yearly, and these injuries can lead to lost working hours and, in severe cases, death. According to most recent statistics performed by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), around 40 thousand head injuries occur every year, resulting in at least one day off work.
Many of these injuries occurred in industries where hard hats were needed. One of the challenges facing workplaces and employers is not understanding the risks of the specific workplace and the required PPE for that workplace. Hard hats are a natural choice in some industries, but bump caps are a type of head protection that has recently received a lot of attention. Whether you are an employee or an employer, the question of choosing the right head PPE always arises, which one should I choose? A hard hat, or a bump cap. The answer to this question depends on the application.
A hard hat is a protective and durable head gear and are the face of the safety industry. They consist of a hard outer shell made of high-density polyethylene (HDPE), plastic, nylon, or thermoplastic and an internal suspension system made of a plastic-nylon combination. They are best suited for sites where workers’ heads are at risk of falling objects-think construction sites, utilities, and oil/gas. Safety hard hats come in two types; Type I safety hard hats must withstand vertical penetration and impact forces, and Type II must also include lateral resistance to front, back, and side penetration of the hard hat. The type you get depends on the type of work you are doing and the choice of design that benefits you. The hard hat has become an iconic emblem of industrial safety, emphasizing the continuous need of preventing head injuries.
Figure 1 – Hard Hats
Hard hats are not needed in all situations where head protection is needed. Bump caps do not meet ANSI or CSA requirements and are not a replacement for hard hats, but they provide comfortable head protection from discomfort and injury. Bump caps may be the go-to choice if workers are at risk of impact from stationary objects (also known as headbanging). It is also helpful to think of the Bump cap as a protection for the scalp. Even superficial cuts on the scalp produce terrifying amounts of blood and many require seams to close the wound. Avoiding this trauma is as easy as wearing a protective cap. For example, exterminators, contractors, baggage handlers, truck drivers, mechanics, and many other workers can benefit from the use of bump caps. The bump cap looks like a traditional cotton and nylon baseball cap with a hard plastic shell and foam inside, but some styles look like a simplified plastic hard hat. There are also bump cap inserts designed to fit and create existing caps, this helps enhance the bump cap protection.
Figure 2- Bump Cap
Raising awareness can be one of the most effective measures to help protect employees from head injuries. Since the invention of the “Hard-Boiled Hat” in the early 1920s, head protection has gone a long way. While substantial progress has been achieved over the last century, today’s job site requires multi-faceted protection to safeguard employees from head injuries caused by falling items as well as small slips, trips, and falls at ground level. On dangerous job sites, these sorts of slips, trips, and falls happen virtually every day. As a result, the risk of direct impact between a worker’s unprotected head and the ground or a nearby item becomes a real concern.
Hard hats are there for your protection against impacts caused by objects, such as a falling item. A bump cap, on the other hand, is meant to protect you from workplace injuries, such as hitting your head on anything. It’s worth noting that bump caps will never be able to take the place of a hard hat. It’s not, and will never be a replacement. This is true due to the different functionality and safety requirements and standards of each. They are essentially there to supplement a head protection plan for people who operate in a restricted location where a hard helmet might restrict your mobility or make it harder for you to do your job, or you keep knocking it off, or it keeps sliding off, adding unnecessary complications to the work that needs to be done.
Elimination of the risk is always better than protection from the risk. In other words, all efforts shall be made to remove any head injury risk from the work place. At TFT-Pneumatic we strive to ensure the workplace is free of avoidable risks prior to commencing any work. This helps keep our employees safe and reduce any health related problems. We aim to utilize only fit for purpose head protection, whether it is a bump cap or a hard hat depends on the initial risk assessment and the most recent industry wide recommendation.
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