Roofing Contractors – All you Need to Know about Hard Hats
When it comes to hard hats, choosing the right hat for the type of work you’re doing is essential if you want it to protect you effectively from accidents. Just choosing a yellow hard hat and making sure you wear it is not good enough, there are several issues you need to consider to minimise injuries. Firstly, you need to know exactly what to look for that is specific to our industry, roofing.
Along with miners, firefighters, plumbers and welders, roofing contractors need to wear specific types of hard hats designed for the environment in which they work. The hard hats worn during roofing work need to work effectively under a range of different weather conditions, depending on the hazards that may be present.
It was only relatively recently that hard hats became compulsory under certain circumstances and they should be seen (along with other types of personal protective equipment) as a “last resort” for use where risks cannot be controlled by other means. The use of hard hats is governed by the Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations 1992 (as amended) and the Personal Protective Regulations 2002.
Hard hats used on construction sites here in the UK must be manufactured to BS EN 397, which includes a rigorous testing process for impact resistance and flame retardance. Foreign hart hats may not conform to this British Standard or offer the level of protection required during construction work.
Any employee or visitor to a construction site should be provided with a hard hat by their employer or the main contractor – although self-employed workers (including sub-contractors) will need to provide their own. Here are some of the Dos and Don’ts of hard hats:
- Do make sure that your hard hat has been manufactured to BS EN 397 – this should be stamped on the back of the hat or on the inside. The hard hat should also bear a CE mark.
- Don’t wear a hard hat that has been damaged.
- Do make sure that your hard hat fits correctly. If it is too loose, adjust the strap at the back of the internal safety cradle.
- Don’t wear anything else underneath your hard hat, such as a wool or fleece hat in cold weather. This could prevent your hard hat from fitting properly, resulting in it coming off in the event of an accident.
- Do check your hard hat on a regular basis for signs of damage – you should also check the inner lining and chin strap if it has one.
- Don’t put your hard hat down anywhere where it may get damaged.
- Do look after your hard hat as it could save your life.
- Don’t wear a hard hat that has been exposed to chemicals (including paint) as they could weaken the plastic and reduce the strength of the hat.
- Do clean your hard hat with warm soapy water on a regular basis.
- Don’t put stickers on your hard hat, don’t write or paint on it.
Next week we’ll take a look at the colour coding on hard hats. If you want to make sure you don’t miss the information, then follow us on Facebook or Twitter to get a notification when it’s published.