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    PPE Essentials - Part 2: Head Protection

    Posted by Gordon on

    Blaklader Workwear - Head Protection

    Choosing the right PPE (personal protective equipment) can be a complicated and time consuming task. With so many different products to choose from and frequently updated regulations, it can be a daunting task picking the right equipment for yourself or your employees.

    In this series of weekly articles I will be exploring the key areas of PPE selection, the regulations surrounding them, and correct usage to ensure you are kept informed and most importantly kept safe.

    Head Protection

    When there is risk of falling objects or other head injury the Personal Protective equipment at Work Regulations 2002 state that head protection must be worn. The types of head protection available varies with different features and functions, however the properties of the head protection must strictly fall into one of 2 main standards:

    EN397 - Industrial Safety Helmets

    This is the minimum standard a safety helmet must achieve to pass certification. Helmets must under certain strict tests including:

    • Impact: The energy spread from an object of 5kg dropped from a 1m height must not achieve 5kN
    • Penetration: The tip of the test mass must not come into contact with the skull (3kg dropped from 1m)
    • Flammability: Must not burn with flame emissions for more than 5 seconds after flame removal

    Endurance SAfety Helmet

    EN812 - Industrial Bump Caps

    This certification covers industrial bump caps only. Bump caps often take the shape of a regular baseball cap which incorporate a padded plastic shell.

    Bump caps are designed to protect against impact and knocks against structures and not against falling debris. In those cases a safety helmet is required.

    Vent Cool Bump Cap

    Identifying the Hazards

    Now we know the regulations and differences between the two certification standards it is time to identify the hazards which would require the use of head protection.

    In most cases you would be made aware of what PPE is required when entering a certain workspace, for instance a building site should have well place signage displaying key information and health and safety requirements. If you can't find the information required a visual risk assessment will be needed to identify potential hazards. Once you have identified the risks it just a case of wearing the head protection that is correct for the situation.

    Site Safety Sign

    Choice of Head Protection

    Knowing the hazards will help you select the best head protection for your needs. As mentioned earlier in the article some safety helmets offer extra features to provide ease of use or compatibility with other PPE you may be required to wear. Some of these features include:

    Accessory mounting slots Built in eye protection shield Air vent system for added comfort Task specific helmets

    Forestry Helmet

    Endurance Visor Helmet

    Endurance Plus Helmet

    Height Endurance Helmet

    "Ensure any PPE you buy is ‘CE’ marked and complies with the requirements of the Personal Protective Equipment Regulations 2002. The CE marking signifies that the PPE satisfies certain basic safety requirements and in some cases will have been tested and certified by an independent body." - Health & Safety Executive (HSE)

    This ends our second article in the PPE Essentials series and hopefully cleared up any confusion on head protection and the regulations surrounding it. Next week we will be looking eye protection, what risks to identify and what to look for when choosing your products to keep you or your employees safe at work.

    This article contains public sector information published by the Health and Safety Executive and licensed under the Open Government Licence. The information in this article is for guidance only and by following it you do so at your own risk. For further information on safety at work and the topics covered in this article please visit

    Image courtesy of Blaklader Workwear