15 August 2020 3 min read

Safety Week: Next Generation of Hard Hats

 

From tar-covered hats to safety helmets that can track where you are and how you feel. We are here to talk about the Next Generation of HardHats.

A helmet was once the fundament of safety in the building sector, protecting workers on construction sites all over the world. Fortunately, the modern world developed and is not relying only on helmets to secure worker’s safety anymore - we have complex procedures now, that should ensure a safe work environment when followed and properly used. Nonetheless - the helmets themselves are still a required (and valuable!) type of protection - and they too evolved over time.

Interesting fact!

In the early days, the construction workers (especially the shipbuilders) would take their hats and they would cover them with tar. They would lay them down in the sun to dry and then wear them - with the added layer of protection against the objects that might fall upon them and hurt them.

Today’s next generation of HardHats is lighter, easier to wear and provides great safety in construction sites all over the globe. This article is here to tell you a bit more about the safety procedures related to HardHats, the specifics behind them and the newest solutions on the market!

Safety comes first!

If your work requires you to wear a HardHat, there is no way you can say no to it! It means that you are exposed to a dangerous environment and you must take protection against it. Safety procedures in construction underline the protection a safety helmet can add. Head injuries can come from falling objects; striking fixed objects, such as unprotected ends of scaffolding poles or other projections; or from restricted headroom. Wearing such a device can prevent, or at least reduce the severity of, a head injury.

Hard hats – and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) in general – are regarded as a ‘last resort’ for use where risks cannot be controlled by other means.

The Next Generation of HardHats

The Japanese company Shimabun has started upgrading the regular HardHats and gave them an extra touch of safety in construction by adding IoT elements (like motion and temperature sensors, communication capabilities, etc.). Everything is being worked on so that the workers’ safety would increase.

Shimabun also upgraded their HardHats with a module that is able to detect where the workers are and if they are in trouble (eg. if they feel ill or if they have fallen). This also allows the Project Managers to track at any time where their workers are and if they are on the scheduled task. The helmets improved by Shimabun also detect any overheating conditions (having built-in temperature and motion sensors). These types of Next Generation HardHats can reduce even further the risk of accidents, making safety in construction an easier target to achieve. These helmets would also count as construction management solutions, as it would provide precise data logging (via cloud) - data will be able to be analysed real time or later if needed.

According to an article in EHS Today, 38% of personal protective equipment manufacturers are embedding sensors in products that enable end-users to collect information about their use. This, of course, will bring great knowledge and improve the safety procedures and solutions on the market. The Japanese company Shimabun is not the only one seeing the benefits - Laing O’Rourke also sees the pluses in creating New Generation HardHats. “Because of the climate in Australia, one of the issues we face is heatstroke,” Ryan Macnamee, the company’s CIO, told Internet of Business. “The problem with heatstroke is, by the time you feel the symptoms, you already have it, so you need to have been warned well before you are exhibiting symptoms.” Being one step ahead is key!

In an industry where danger lurks around the corner, having the best construction management solution and the best tools available on the market is key! Keeping track with items like the Next Generation HardHats, investing money in a system that would track your processes (your production) but also seamlessly integrate with key apps that you currently use, is an important step into making your company even more successful.

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