An OSHA Guide to Head Protection Part 3
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is responsible for providing a clear and concise set of rules and regulations governing workplace safety. An important part of OSHA’s rules and regulations are the safety requirements for personal protective equipment (PPE) worn on project sites. Workplace hazards, especially in the construction industry, can arise at any time without warning, so it’s important to equip your team with the tools to stay safe all throughout the day.
In part one and part two, the construction law experts at Cotney Construction Law explored the cases for wearing protective headgear, the characteristics of high-quality head PPE, and different types of hard hats. In part three, we will examine the size and care considerations for these vital pieces of equipment.
Finding the Perfect Fit
Any OSHA defense lawyer can tell you that wearing ill-fitting head protection is inadvisable and risky. If headgear is too small or too large, it should not be worn on the project site. Every single piece of protective headgear should fit its wearer perfectly pending the correct adjustments. Protective headgear is manufactured in a variety of sizes to best fit the needs of your workforce. Adjustable headbands and straps ensure that every worker should be suitably protected from workplace hazards. If your team is complaining about hard hats slipping, falling off, or irritating their skin, their protective headgear needs to be swapped for a more appropriate model.
Some models of protective headgear are compatible with various accessories to assist employees in various environmental conditions. Accessories like ear muffs, safety glasses, face shields, and mounted lights can be worn together with protective headgear to provide workers with the ideal protection for their current task. Other accessories include optional brims for boosted sun protection and grooves for leading rainwater away from the wearer’s face. However, any accessory that compromises the wearer’s safety should not be worn.
Maintenance and Defects
Protective headgear should be cleaned and inspected regularly after use. Daily inspections of hard hat shells, suspension systems, and other accessories are industry-standard practices that help prevent the majority of equipment-related injuries. Paints, paint thinners, and certain cleaning agents can compromise the strength of the dense plastic shell of hard hats and degrade electrical resistance. Do not allow workers to make physical alterations to protective headgear such as drilling holes or applying labels. In addition, store protective headgear in a cool, dry place. Severe heat can cause irreparable damage to your gear. Other possible defects include:
- Perforation, fracturing, or malformation of the brim or shell
- Erosion of surface gloss
- Signs of chalking and flaking
- Loose suspension system
- Deterioration of padding
Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.