Trends in ... head/face protection
Find PPE that ‘goes the extra mile’
Compliance is key to head and face protection, says Todd Conn, director of new market development at Grand Rapids, MI-based HexArmor. “Look for [personal protective equipment] that goes the extra mile to make their protection secure and comfortable enough to wear so it doesn’t get in the way of an employee doing their job,” he said. “The best PPE is the PPE that the worker does not notice.”
Here, Conn and Mark Stanley, president of Atlanta, TX-based Stanco Safety Products, discuss what’s new in the head and face protection field, and what employers need to know to best protect their workforce.
One new technology Stanley brought up is a hard hat that features a heat stress alarm. “It sends a vibration alert, warning workers when body temps are reaching a dangerous level,” he said.
The No. 1 trend HexArmor has been monitoring is “the evolution of the hard hat design into more of a climbing-style helmet, which brings with it new technologies and improvements to head protection across the board,” Conn said. He noted that helmet-style head protection provides new built-in safety features, such as extended back-of-neck coverage, shorter brims, front-to-back ventilation and low-profile designs.
One way a worker can be out of compliance, Stanley said, is if the hard hat is worn backward – unless it’s designed to be – in an attempt to keep the sun off the neck or increase the field of vision.
Conn pointed out that accessories that don’t work in conjunction with safety helmets can compromise compliance. “Removing your helmet to don a standalone faceshield, for example, leaves the head unprotected,” he said.
Worker safety is worth taking extra steps. “To evaluate or determine the best PPE for your location and applications, we recommend conducting a site audit, as well as a fit test per person to ensure proper fit, to help increase compliance and safety,” Conn said.
Compiled with the assistance of the International Safety Equipment Association
Coming next month:
- First Aid/Emergency Response