The safety case is one of the personal protection elements (PPE), its use is general in workers in various sectors of production. In other words, the protective helmet for the industry is an element that is responsible for protecting the head of those who use it, but its main objective is to protect the upper part of it from objects that may fall on it, thus avoiding fatal wounds.
Main function of a safety helmet
Safety helmets achieve their protection capacity and reduce the destructive consequences that can generate blows to the head, thanks to the fact that they are equipped with a set of elements that together are able to provide the following conditions.
- They limit the pressure that can be applied to the skull by distributing the impact force over the largest possible surface area.
- They are responsible for deflecting the objects that fall on it, due to its smooth and rounded design.
- They disperse and dissipate the impact energy, this means that it is not fully transmitted to the head and neck.
You must bear in mind that, if you use a safety helmet for a special job, it must meet additional requirements, for example protection against splashes of any type of liquid that can cause injury, protection against work with electrical contact, etc. .
Elements or main parts of a safety helmet.
Safety helmets are personal protection elements that have different elements to fulfill their task, then we will tell you what these elements are so that you take them into account when using or purchasing one.
- Cap: this is an element made of a hard material with a smooth finish that makes up the general external part of the safety helmet.
- Visor: this is the extension of the cap that is in the front part of it or that is located in the upper part of the eyes.
- Harness: This is the complete set of elements that are responsible for keeping the helmet in the correct position on the head and at the same time is responsible for absorbing the kinetic energy that an impact can produce.
- Wing: This part is the edge that surrounds the cap.
- Head band: it is located on the harness and is responsible for completely or partially surrounding the head above the eyes horizontally.
- Neck band: this is a band that can be adjusted, it is located at the back of the head.
- Chinstrap: This element is attached under the chin to help hold the helmet on the head. This is an optional element in the constitution of the team, not all helmets have to have this mandatory, but there are jobs where its use is mandatory.
When do you need a safety helmet?
Taking into account OSHA 29 CFR 1910.135 standard, if the following conditions are present in the workplace, it is necessary to use a safety helmet.
- Risk of falling objects from higher levels.
- Danger of blows to the head with objects that are located at the same level.
- When there is a risk of electrical contact.
- Risk of contact with dangerous liquids.
What is the industry or approval standard for a safety helmet?
It is important that you bear in mind that these may vary depending on the country or region in which you are located. Among the most common standards are the Head Protection ANSI Z89.1 version 2009 and the Head Protection CSA Z94.1 Version 2005. These two are responsible for defining the type and class of helmet, which with safety It can help you when choosing the type of helmet you need according to the risk you or your collaborators face. You must bear in mind that the tests of the standards may be different, which in turn forces manufacturers to rehearse the tests indicated by each standard.
Class and type of Safety helmet
Taking into account the ANSI standard, below we are going to tell you what are the definitions and types of safety helmet so that you keep it in mind depending on the work you are going to do or the risk you are going to face.
Type 1 safety helmet
Type 1 safety helmets are designed to reduce the impact force that can be received on the top of the head.
Type 2 safety helmet
Type 2 safety helmets are designed with the aim of reducing the impact force that can occur both on the top and on the side of the head.
Class C safety helmet
The class C helmet type is not designed to provide protection against any electrical or conductive hazards.
Class G safety helmet
The class G safety helmet has the characteristic of being designed to reduce the risks that can be generated by contact with low voltage conductors, according to the standard they are tested with voltages up to 2200 V.
Class E security case
Class E safety helmets are designed with the aim of reducing the risks that contact with any high voltage conductor can generate, according to the standard they have been tested with voltages of up to 20000 V.
How to identify the standards of the helmet you use?
Helmets have markings or labels to identify ANSI standards. You must bear in mind that these marks or labels must include the following aspects.
- Name or identification of the manufacturer
- The date it was manufactured
- The type and the class
- Size or head size
Optional information such as low temperature, high visibility, reverse use, etc. can be found in some of the helmet brands. But you should keep in mind that this additional information is optional and not all manufacturers include it.
How to store and clean a helmet?
These are some of the recommendations that many omit when it comes to maintaining a safety helmet, not taking them into account can cause the helmet to lose its properties and functionality, so keep these tips in mind.
Cleaning the case
It is important to keep in mind that if the helmet needs to be washed for any reason, it should be done with mild soap and warm water, this is the most recommended way to clean the helmet, including the shell and suspension. After washing it, it should be dried using a dry towel or in the open air. It is not advisable to use abrasives or solvents to clean any of the helmet components, these products can generate wear or damage.
Regarding the storage of safety helmets, it is important that they are not housed in places with high temperatures, near ovens or equipment with high temperatures or in direct sunlight.
Can I exchange the parts of my helmets?
For whatever reason the helmets lose some of their parts, but it is possible that you have the missing part, it is important that you do not replace the missing parts with others that you have left over from other helmets, this is because the manufacturers have the responsibility of guarantee your ANSI tests with a specific shell and suspension for each safety helmet, that is, the shell and suspension are specific units and are tested as such, changing them may alter their proper functioning.
At what point should you change your helmet?
This is one of the most frequently asked questions, you must bear in mind the climatic conditions to which you subject your helmet, this will depend on the frequency with which you must change it, then we will tell you other factors that you must take into account to change your helmet.
- By direct exposure to the sun.
- When you expose it to extreme temperatures.
- Due to exposures to chemical agents that generate considerable wear over the life of the safety helmet.
- Due to considerable impacts.
Keep in mind that the daily inspection of your helmet is the best way to know when you should change each of the elements of your helmet. Important companies in the manufacture of these personal protection elements advise changing the suspension of your helmet at least every 12 months and the shell between 2 to 5 years, keep these recommendations in mind to optimize the proper functioning of your helmet.
Impacts weaken your safety helmet.
Many people wonder if they should change their helmet after receiving an impact and not show wear on it, it is important that you change your safety helmet after being impacted because the materials can weaken and for this reason you will not have the same protection or penetration resistance in a next impact.
What should you check when you inspect your helmet?
Keep in mind that safety helmets must be checked or inspected daily in their entirety, for this reason you must identify the following aspects before using any.
- Verify that the casing does not show cracks or tears.
- Make sure the suspension doesn’t have any cuts.
- Helmets that are permanently exposed to the sun may have lighter colors than they should or may become less rigid than they should, if you identify this change your helmet immediately.
What elements can you use under the helmet?
You can use nuns, bandanas, hoods under your helmet as long as they do not have metal parts and do not generate bulges on the top of the head. Avoid having pressure points between the element you use and the suspension of your helmet, as this will make you unable to adjust your helmet in the best way and present discomfort. Caps should not be used under helmets, as they interfere with the damping function of the suspension at the time of an impact.
Can the helmets be painted or decorated?
Non-metallic and adhesive stickers are recommended for most cases. But keep in mind that you must follow some important recommendations, for example, the stickers should not cover points of impact and you should place them at least ½ ”from the edge. In the case of suspension, it should not be painted unless the manufacturer recommends and authorizes it.
These are the main aspects that you should take into account when choosing or wearing a safety helmet, follow these recommendations or pass the information on to your collaborators so that they also follow them and in this way avoid possible accidents.