Hard Hats and Safety Helmets – A Guide to Protection – Series 5

5 August 2020

In series 4 we spoke about what to wear and why. We gave some clarity around the correct protection and what that means to you as a specifier or wearer. We also covered elements related to the standards and how these may be changing in the future to reflect incidents and accidents that occur.

Series 5: Accidents and Statistics

There are a lot of accident records and statistics available online, however, the interpretation of these is key to understanding and evaluating the risk. One way that displays how we view accidents from a health and safety perspective, is when we put up a board at our building site or factory saying ‘it’s been 238 days since our last reported accident’ What’s wrong with that you ask? Potentially accidents may not be reported as individuals may not want to ruin the company’s accident record or statistic. Perhaps it should read instead ‘238 accidents reported in the last 3 years, thank you, please continue to report all accidents or incidents’ This would then promote a good reporting culture and in turn help us to understand how these accidents and incidents occur.

For all of us, accident reporting and statistics provide insights to help us elevate the issue of better head protection for the world’s safety helmet/ hard hat wearers. It allows us to constantly challenge the status quo and push technical boundaries to achieve better protection, sending us home safely to our loved ones every day.

We all know our most valuable asset to protect is our head, because that is the bit that works everything else. If something happens to that, then there may be serious implications including anything from brain injury to death. Through accident reporting and statistics, we can gain further understanding on how injuries are caused and therefore how we can prevent them. However, statistics are only one part of the equation. As an industry, we must continue to analyse and question statistics so that we can address the issues that have the biggest impact on wearer safety. For instance, we know that in 2018/19 in the UK there were 16 fatal injuries involving being struck by a moving or flying/falling object, but we do not know which ones involved a head injury? We know there were 749 incidents in the UK 2018/19 where a loss of consciousness was caused by a head injury or asphyxia, but how many were caused specifically by a head injury? We know that a bump or blow by an object accounts for 13% of all injuries across manufacturing in the UK and US, yet how many of those were injuries to the head? We know that more head injuries occur from slips, trips and falls from the same level than being struck by an object, but the focus until recently has been on protecting against being struck by an object. To put this into context, as much as 30% of head injuries in the UK and 50% of head injuries in Germany, occur from slips, trips and falls from the same level.

So, what does Centurion Safety Products think?

As an industry, we have spent a lot of our time trying to understand the mechanisms that cause head injury, and as a result we know more about dropped objects than ever before. However, the issue is that we still do not have enough information to understand how other head injuries are occurring and therefore how to protect against them. We must continue to push for better, more detailed, accident reporting and statistics so that we can take the right steps to protect people and ensure we focus on the areas that have the biggest impact on wear safety, such as, concussion and rotational injury. These injuries are far more common than you think, for example 50% of concussions go undiagnosed or detected, whilst 90% of diagnosed concussions do not involve a loss of consciousness, this is scary stuff and has led to many life changing injuries and costly litigations. Accident data and statistical analysis will help us to achieve a higher level of protection for the wearer, but only if we push for better data quality and use it to inform future product development.

Remember that not all head protection is equal.

If you would like further information on what helmet types and standards suit you then contact our expert.

Our next series covers the changing face of standards