Hard hats are one of the most common pieces of safety equipment on any construction site and in many other settings. Workers are required to wear them to prevent head injuries – such as a traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) — if something falls from a higher level on the construction site.
Most hard hats are just made with a thin sheet of plastic. Some workers question if it’s even necessary to wear this personal protection equipment and if it can help. Why is it that hard hats are so effective?
The suspension system
The plastic layer does act as a barrier. This can be highly beneficial in preventing cuts, lacerations, bruises and even skull fractures.
What makes that plastic shield so effective is that there is a suspension system built into it. It does not actually sit directly on the worker’s head. This means that it can absorb the impact and help to dissipate the energy when an item strikes the surface.
This is similar to the crumple zones that are built into vehicles. Originally, cars tended to be as sturdy and durable as possible. However, this meant that the people inside the vehicles could suffer serious injuries in a crash. A crumple zone intentionally gives way to help dissipate energy before it reaches the passengers. The hard hat does the same thing, protecting the worker from fractures or TBIs.
This doesn’t mean that workers can’t be hurt, of course. Those who have been injured on the job need to know how to seek workers’ compensation to cover their medical care and some of their lost wages if they have to take time away from work after suffering injuries.