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Use your head

10 May 2021

Investing in hard hat protection makes sense and with Hard Hat Awareness Week coming up Chris Tidy hopes this will be a good opportunity to ensure you have the proper protection.

DID YOU know that the average spend for a pair of safety boots in the UK is £25-£30, yet for a safety helmet, the average amount paid is between £5 and £8? It’s a statistic that got us thinking: why are we so reluctant to invest in protecting what is arguably the most important organ in the body? 

The brain is responsible for controlling and coordinating actions and reactions, it allows us to think and feel, and enables us to have memories and feelings—all the things that make us human – yet the risks posed by head injury are so often overlooked, dismissed, or simply not considered. 

That’s why in 2020 Centurion Safety partnered with leading charity, Headway, to launch the first Hard Hat Awareness Week: a week of activity designed to drive awareness of brain injury and encourage best practice around safety equipment. Following the success of last year, we’re back again for 2021 with an exciting programme of events running from the 14th to 20th June.

The concept of a hard hat is something that is by no means a modern invention. Way back in 1882, Centurion (then known as The Patent Pulp Manufacturing Co.) developed the earliest version of the modern-day helmet. Initially produced to protect miners, the helmets were made from pulped tree roots which were lacquered to produce a hard, waterproof shell. 

However archaeological evidence shows that head protection – in one form or another – has been around since before 2500BC. Rather than the more modern concept of protection from accidental injury, the first forms of helmets were likely developed to protect the wearer in battle. In fact, archaeologists have found evidence of helmets made from a huge variety of materials including copper, leather and even boar tusks. 

Throughout history then, there has been a clear recognition that our most valuable asset to protect is our head, because that is the bit that works everything else. If something happens to that, then there may be serious implications including anything from brain injury to death. Whether you’re working at height, at risk of falling objects or simply moving around on site, wearing a well-fitting, properly maintained hard hat can dramatically change the potential outcomes in the event of an accident. 

We want people to take Hard Hat Awareness Week as an opportunity to assess and audit their safety equipment. Are you aware of the expiry date on your hard hat, for example? Is it stored in an appropriate environment? Has it been marked with paint or markers or had stickers or decals applied that could have left its shell vulnerable to chemical attack? And, perhaps most importantly, has the fit been adjusted correctly to be sure it’s providing you with maximum protection? You can find a full helmet wear and tear safety guide here: https://centurionsafety.eu/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/2018-Safety-Helmet-Wear-and-Care-Guide-ENG.pdf.

Brain injury is a far more common incident that you might think, and its impact can be life-changing for both the injured person and their wider family. Ensuring your head protection is worn and cared for correctly is key to remaining safe.

Hard Hat Awareness Week returns for its second year in 2021, running from the 14th to 20th June. Find out more about the events planned and how to get involved by visiting https://centurionsafety.eu/hard-hat-awareness/.

Chris Tidy is technical and training specialist at Centurion Safety Products. For more information, visit https://centurionsafety.eu