Each year, thousands of construction workers suffer head injuries on the job. OSHA requires workers to wear a protective helmet (hard hat) when working in areas where there is a potential for injury to the head from falling objects. Common causes of occupational head injuries include:
- Falling tools or other materials
- Materials being moved by a crane or other workers
- Contact with low overhead objects (e.g., piping, beams)
- Workplace falls
- Electrical shock from exposed electrical conductors
- Overhead hazards, such as equipment or electrical wires
How to Prevent Head Injuries
Wearing head protection and looking out for others on jobsites are some of the ways you can reduce work-related head injuries and save lives.
- Protect your head.
- Always wear head protection.
- Ensure your hard hat/safety helmet has an ANSI marking on both the shell and suspension and is the right type and class for the job.
- Type 1 reduces the force of impact only from blows to the top of the head.
- Type 2 reduces the force of impact from blows to both the top and the sides of the head.
- Wear head protection that fits.
- Do not wear a cap, hood, or other headgear under your head protection.
- Headliners for cold weather that are designed to be compatible with the head protection can be used.
- Wear hearing and eye protection designed for use with your head protection.
- Check for damaged headwear.
- Check for cracks, tears in the suspension, dents or other signs of damage.
- Do not use a damaged hard hat or safety helmet.
- Clean your head protection with hot water and mild soap. Do not use solvents or other harsh chemicals, which can weaken your head protection.
- Lookout for your coworkers.
- Pay attention to your surroundings and to others.
- Inform your coworkers when your see their head protection is damaged, does not fit or is not being worn properly.
Download the Preventing Head Injuries one-pager and post it in a high visibility area at your workplace.