Head protection in PPE terms is considered as protection against impact injury and some burn injuries. It generally protects the scalp area, and sometimes the jaw. The face is generally not included, except for some sports helmets. Eye and face protection, noise protection and respiratory protection are separate types of PPE. Protective clothing standards include protecting the head from chemical, biological and radioactive hazards.
In Europe the industrial helmet standard is EN397. A hard hat (safety helmet, safety hat, etc) should be selected to protect the wearer from an identified risk. A head protector is intended to protect against, prevent, reduce or withstand: direct impacts, electric shock, contre coup (whiplash neck) injury, flame, penetration, radiant heat, rotational element of injury, and crash.
Head protection regulations and risk management
Head protection generally falls under the same regulations as other PPE - in the UK this is The PPE at Work Regulations 1992 2 and The PPE Regulations 2002 3 . Some key points of these regulations are:
- Head protection should only be used after a risk assessment has been made
- It should be selected, used and maintained correctly
- Head protection should be CE marked (to show that it meets the essential safety requirements of the PPE Directive 89/686/EEC)