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Protect from the top

21 September 2022

A day in the life of a hard hat: MSA Safety provides an insight into electricians’ most important companions

INDUSTRIAL ELECTRICIANS can be wearing their hard hat for sometimes over eight hours a day. Around 2,000 hours a year! And during it all, its job is to protect our most important asset and greatest tool – the brain. A complex organ that controls thought, memory, emotion, touch, motor skills, vision, breathing, and every process that regulates our body. It’s a pretty tough and important job. At MSA Safety, we see hard hats as much more than merely a protective shell. We see them as your companion. One that’s with you throughout most of the working day, five days a week, 12 months a year. One that might just be a lifesaver.

We want to bring to life what hard hats withstand on a daily basis and reveal how quality head protection not only keeps electricians safe but contributes to increased confidence, wellbeing and greater productivity. 

9am: the workday begins 

Your electrician helmet with integrated arc-flash visor needs to show up and set about its job: being life-saver ready. So, what are the characteristics of a quality helmet with integrated full-face shield?

  • A protective arc-flash resistant foam at the top of your face shield helps enhance the seal between shield and hard hat, elevating your safety.

  • An anti-scratch coating face shield – that’s also anti-fog – means your vision is unimpeded.

  • A reusable storage bag means you can stow away your hard hat and keep it protected when not in use. It also increases the service life of the hard hat, providing an added cost-effective bonus.

11:30am: almost lunchtime

By now you’ve had a busy morning installing a new electrical system. You’ve been on the move a lot, negotiating cramped spaces, ducking, crouching, working while looking up, and peering into tight spots. What’s more, it’s been a pretty complex and dangerous job that’s needed full focus.

With lesser quality head and face protection, you may be feeling uncomfortable now. Your helmet and visor may not feel balanced properly on your head. You may feel a tension headache coming on. Or perhaps you’ve had difficulty handling your visor wearing gloves. The visor may be too dark, have poor optical quality, or be fogging to a point that makes it difficult for you to clearly distinguish the colours of electrical wires. 

Any discomfort or inconvenience – besides making you feel lousy – can impact your focus and overall safety. Any of the above issues could tempt you to raise your visor or take your helmet off – and that’s potentially incredibly dangerous. 

You need to be able to concentrate fully on the job at hand rather than worrying about your helmet and visor. Especially considering the potentially fatal risks you face, like contact with electricity or arc-flash. 

Let’s look at how premium head and face protection keeps you comfortable and safe while you work.

  • A six-point ratchet textile suspension is a key component of the shock absorption performance of your helmet. It contributes to your comfort, ensuring your hard hat remains secure.

  • An easy-to-operate ratchet allows you to adjust the helmet safely and comfortably to the shape of your head, even while wearing gloves. This minimises rattling and slippage, even when working in tight spots and repeatedly looking up and down. A four-point textile chinstrap reinforces the retention of the helmet on your head.

  • It can get hot in industrial settings, so a premium foam washable and replaceable sweatband (that covers a substantial part of your forehead) keeps you feeling fresh.

  • Fortunately, your helmet works seamlessly with an integrated visor that can be pulled down and retracted in a reliable one-handed smooth movement. An integrated visor also means it’s always available when you need it. It can’t be lost or ‘forgotten’ and when it’s not needed, it’s protected within the helmet.

  • Importantly, your helmet has an integrated light blue face shield with an anti-fog and anti-scratch coating and the highest optical quality. It has a visible light transmittance ≥ 75 per cent and is certified according to GS-ET-29 Class 2 (7kA). It’ll protect you against many hazards, including impacts, chemical splash, UV radiation, and more.

  • A modern, dynamic design with a low-profile, sports-styled shell and integrated visor mechanism means that you’re less likely to knock your head on obstacles around you. Working in tight spaces is no longer an issue. 

1pm: lunchtime over, back to work

During your lunch break you’ve pored over the plan for this afternoon’s job. The machinery you’ll be working on is in a confined space which you’ll need to be lowered into. Although you’re being lowered below ground, this is still classed as working at height which poses some unique challenges. Moreover, there’s a risk of explosion. Multiple potential risks like this can make what should be a routine job complex. But your hard hat and integrated visor are up to the task. Here’s how:

  • You’ll need a full range of vision – up and down – while you’re lowered into the confined space. Good news: the four-point chinstrap and six-point ratchet suspension design allow for better upward vision and provide a secure and comfortable fit, even when moving repeatedly.

  • You’re entering an ATEX environment, so your hard hat is made from anti-static materials and is Electrostatic-Ineris certified. Plus, its integrated visor fits neatly over your corrective spectacles.

  • The extended ear and neck flaps attached to your helmet help ensure you’re protected against arc flash up to 7kA when you’re actively working. And when you’re not, you can put them on stand-by on top of the helmet’s shell.

5:30pm: it’s home time

It’s been a busy day and you’ll be glad to get home. Fortunately, thanks to your hard hat (which you’ve stowed away in its premium textile storage and transport bag), you’ll return to your family safely. It’s been a taxing day, but the comfort and functionality of your hard hat has allowed you to concentrate fully on the job. No surprise for a safety helmet that’s been developed for, and with, electricians.

An important reminder

All hard hats, regardless of their quality, should be checked before and after each use. Workers should visually inspect the shell for breakage, cracks, crazing, discolouration, a chalky appearance, or any other anomalies. These conditions can indicate a loss of impact, penetration, and/or electrical resistance. The suspension should also be checked for loss of flexibility. Check for cracks, breaks, frayed straps, and damaged stitching. And you should always check that the chinstrap is in good condition and that the face shield isn’t cracked or blemished.

Your most important above-the-neck safety companion

As we said in the beginning, a hard hat is more than the sum of its parts. It’s a companion and a potential lifesaver, so invest in the best. After all, it could be the difference between a worker returning home to their family at the end of a working day – or not. 

For more information, visit www.msasafety.com