Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) frequently occur in industrial environments, with the construction industry accumulating the greatest number of fatal and nonfatal TBIs among U.S. workplaces according to the CDC. Although numerous risks co-exist at construction sites, falls make up about 35% of all construction accidents and are a huge catalyst to TBIs in the industry. According to OSHA, 65% of construction workers work on scaffolds, therefore dramatically increasing their risk for TBIs and subsequent life-threatening or life-long consequences. TBIs can manifest as concussions, skull fractures, brain hemorrhages, head bruises, contusions, or hematomas. Any of these injuries can lead to severe disabilities, including amnesia, coma, and even death. The tricky part is that symptoms like persistent headaches, confusion and speaking more slowly than usual, could even show up several days or weeks after an accident. Various type of PPE, like harnesses, guardrails, and personal fall arrest systems, help prevent falls. However, when a worker does fall, they still need the proper type of head protection to minimize any injuries.

For over a century, hard hats were the go-to PPE for protection against head injuries. What most people don’t know, is that the hard hat was not designed to protect from slips, trips, and falls–the most common means to head injuries. Instead, the traditional hard hat was designed to defend against dropped objects and flying debris, providing protection at the top of the head. It was not engineered to protect the back and sides of the head during angled impacts that occur during falls. Furthermore, the lack of a chin strap often has the hat falling off and leaving the head fully exposed during a fall. Due to these safety short-comings engineers have worked to create a safety helmet, modeled after the helmets used in climbing, cycling, and other physical and dynamic sports. 

Safety helmets are revolutionizing safety in the construction industry. Their advanced design and many safety features offer more protection, especially where slips, trips, and falls are concerned. Many benefits come with requiring the use of helmets at your worksite. These include: less chance of injury to your workers, less worker’s compensation claims, increased productivity, reduced risk and fewer insurance claims, and longer life cycle as safety helmets typically last longer than hard hats. Switching your workplace to helmets is a smart investment. While it may require more upfront costs, it will save you more in the long run if your employees remain safe and uninjured on the job.

The safety helmet is just the beginning of new, innovative safety technologies in the market. There are already plans for more futuristic technologies that aid in head protection that include turning safety helmets into a “wearable smart device.” One day these helmets may include wireless connectivity and power management technologies. These designs will allow workers to connect with a remote command center via sensors, camera, and microphones. The inclusion of smart helmet remote communications or the ability to push a single button for help will further improve job safety, productivity, activity tracking, and provide the location of the worker should an emergency arise.   

To learn more about the revolution of safety helmets, visit: https://ohsonline.com/Articles/2022/08/01/Why-the-Switch.aspx?Page=1

DII is your partner in the workplace. Our team of experts can work with you to understand how to make the smart switch to safety helmets to better protect your employees and company. Please contact your DII representative for more information.  #Helmets #Safety

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