Ditch Your Hard Hat: A New Generation of Head Protection Is On the Way
Hard hats provide a reliable defense against traumatic brain injuries, but new technology may provide even greater protection. Advances in hard hat and helmet technology could reduce the rates of TBI across a wide range of industries. That is why miners, construction workers, and others who depend on helmets to protect their lives are closely watching new developments.
Manufacturers Looking Toward the Future
The modern hard hat has changed little in the past 50 years. Most modern iterations are composed of composite plastics, padding, and styrofoam. Manufacturers are looking to change both the design and composition of modern hard hats. Designers claim new designs provide better protection against a wider range of risks than current designs.
These new helmets address many of the weaknesses of current hard hat designs. Hard hats often fall off during slips, trips, and falls. This leaves workers vulnerable when falling from ladders, scaffolding, into trenches, etc. Current designs can also fall off when the worker simply bends over because many hard hats do not have a chin strap to keep the hard hat in place.
Most current hard hats in use also lack a foam liner to absorb the forces of impact. Coupled with limited suspension systems, current hard hats provide limited protection against object strikes. They are also thin and they provide minimal protection against penetrating traumatic brain injuries.
The new helmet designs address all of these shortcomings. They are equipped with sturdy liners to absorb shocks, chin straps to keep the helmet in place, and they curve down over the sides of the cranium and forehead to provide greater coverage. They are also equipped with face shields to provide protection against debris that can cause eye injuries.
Helmets Could Save Thousands of Lives
Traumatic Brain Injuries claim the lives of thousands of construction workers, miners, fishermen, warehouse workers, and others each decade. Incorporating better technology to protect against known risks is a wise move that benefits both workers and employers. While hard hats have been standard equipment over the past 100 years, it is likely that helmets will become standard equipment for the next 100.