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Hard Hats, What Purpose?

10/11/2013 3:19 PM

According to OSHA, hard hats have to be worn on construction sites where there is danger of objects falling or where workers can bump into objects. It also states that hard hats must be worn to protect from electric shock. This of course makes sense and no one would disagree. I was watching a program on the Discovery channel; "How its Made" the other night. It was about how frozen strawberries are processed, from farm to consumer. It showed women wearing hard hats, standing next to a moving belt of strawberries. Their job was to pick out bad berries before they went to the packaging line. This started me thinking; I have noticed many instances where workers wore hard hats when nothing they were doing would expose them to danger from electricity or falling objects. Were the strawberry processors afraid that someone might slip on a strawberry; fall and hit their head? It's just one of those unexplained things that defies logic.

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#1

Re: Hard hats, what purpose?

10/11/2013 3:23 PM

That is probably because of some blanket regulation that the factory had to follow, even though it makes no sense. It very common and happens all the time.

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#2

Re: Hard hats, what purpose?

10/11/2013 3:24 PM

It is absolutely boggling to know what the risk management team goes through to protect a company from any liability. Because the legal profession has everyone by the B---s when it comes to the soft headed clumsy idiots who hire them to sue us for spilling coffee on themselves. Its the new lottery for the average person - see what I can sue for.

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#3

Re: Hard hats, what purpose?

10/11/2013 3:30 PM

was that a hard hat or a bump hat? (bump hat is a light weight hard hat)

I see these a lot in processing plants. And it could be necessary for insurance purposes. They probably have steel toed work boots. Because Strawberry's can leave a mark if your drop a berry on your toe.

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#4

Re: Hard hats, what purpose?

10/11/2013 3:35 PM

Interesting thing about OSHA, Hard Hats and the Unions.

I have to look this up and verify, but there should be no stickers on hard hats. Because this may had a crack in the hard hat.

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#26
In reply to #4

Re: Hard hats, what purpose?

11/21/2013 5:24 PM

I think its mainly the glue that they worry about on the stickers. Reacting with the material of the hard hat. Who knows what types of glues are used and where they are sourced from. There would be a standard for hard hat compliant glues somewhere I am sure but only specialised stickers would warrant the added cost to the manufacturer as in retro reflective tapes. . Most companies in Australia have replacement time restrictions on Hard Hats. Have to be replaced after 2 years or when needed, if before. I never thought about the cracks before. I suppose if you have the hard hat long enough but its a big risk with your noggin'.

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#27
In reply to #26

Re: Hard hats, what purpose?

11/21/2013 7:17 PM

I think the stickers would help rather than hurt. Hard hats degrade in sunlight, especially our harsh UV levels down here.

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#28
In reply to #27

Re: Hard hats, what purpose?

11/21/2013 7:32 PM

Except that the stickers could hide damage which degrades the safety of the hard hat, as mentioned by an earlier contributor.

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#29
In reply to #28

Re: Hard hats, what purpose?

11/21/2013 7:45 PM

True.

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#30
In reply to #28

Re: Hard hats, what purpose?

11/22/2013 2:01 AM

I've worked on many sites where they put a numerical sticker on the hard hat to show that the site induction has been completed - some are even colour coded to show the work area/competency approved. Also had a sticker for First Aider.

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#5

Re: Hard hats, what purpose?

10/11/2013 3:44 PM

When I was working in a shipyard, wearing a hard hat was automatic. You never went anywhere without one. If you were caught by the hard hat police, you would be written up and removed from the job until you could come up with a hard hat. The same went for safety shoes, glasses and hearing protection. My old hard hat shows many years of bumps and scratches. I'm sure I might not be around today were it not for that hard hat. Even now, although I'm retired, working in my wood shop, I still bump my head now and then. Maybe I better get that old hard hat out of storage.

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#6
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Re: Hard hats, what purpose?

10/11/2013 3:47 PM

to put it mildly.....

Wearing a hard hat or not wearing a hard hat in a ship yard was the difference between going home at night or to a hospital.

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#11
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Re: Hard hats, what purpose?

10/11/2013 7:48 PM

On my first job (with a major chemical company), they even had strong recommendations to wear safety equipment at home after a Supervisors wife was killed by s rock projectile from their rotary lawnmower (he was using it to cut the grass about 50 ft away).

I thought that was unnecessary until a 1 -1/2 inch rock tore through my window screen and almost broke s double pane window on the 2nd floor of my house. The lawn-care people managed to hit a loose rock in the yard.

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#7

Re: Hard hats, what purpose?

10/11/2013 3:50 PM

My guess would be that the area was classified as a "Hard Hat Area". Some other part of the facility may have had a hazardous classification and if both were under the same roof........................

You see this at construction sites. Inside the fence=Hard Hat Area. Period.

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#8

Re: Hard hats, what purpose?

10/11/2013 4:21 PM

I've worked on so many construction sites I can't even venture a guess as to how many. most larger jobs (like the downtown skyscrapers in LA will not allow you through the gate without a hard hat ON, even if you're in a suit and tie just there to drop off prints. I think it's a good idea!

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#9

Re: Hard hats, what purpose?

10/11/2013 5:24 PM

Once a wrench or a 4" bolt bounces off of your helmet you make sure it's always there, same thing with safety glasses.

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#10

Re: Hard hats, what purpose?

10/11/2013 5:52 PM

This has nothing to do with my OT. A friend of mine was driving through a construction zone and a steel bolt (around 3/4" diameter) came flying through his windshield; narrowly missing him. He kept the bolt. It was one of those high strength bolts used in bridge construction.

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#12

Re: Hard hats, what purpose?

10/11/2013 9:18 PM

My views on hardhats and safety gear are highly varied.

If the work site and situations adequately justify their use then I am all for their use.

What I hate is when I am at a worksite where there are numerous other companies working and half the crews are in in street shoes, tee shirts and have absolutely no safety gear because the site conditions are more than safe enough for such attire I hate having to be geared up in full safety battle gear for no good reason other than because it makes some paper shuffler feel important.

Yes if there is work being done overhead or if other operations around the site have reasonable potential for objects to be ejected or propelled at dangerous velocities I think the hard hats and related gear are very necessary.

No if I am standing out in an open field fixing a broken wire on a machine or doing an computer based diagnostics test on something I do not need to be decked out in the full on head to toe safety setup.

Personally I have been in too many situations where the safety gear and practices made the working conditions and activities worse not better.

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#13

Re: Hard hats, what purpose?

10/11/2013 11:11 PM
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#14
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Re: Hard hats, what purpose?

10/11/2013 11:13 PM

You can only take it off if you're standing on the top of the building.

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#15

Re: Hard Hats, What Purpose?

10/12/2013 12:58 PM

I always thought that hard hats were political tools, used to make politicians look like they were just like the common working slob.

Kind of like guns in an election year...

And he served in Vietnam.

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#16

Re: Hard Hats, What Purpose?

10/12/2013 2:42 PM

Worked with a company producing plastic hard hats in Zambia a few decades ago.

Testing included putting the hats on the roof and leaving for a year or so, followed by throwing them off the roof and onto the concrete where they did a good imitation of turning from solid to vapour.

The moral of this story old lads is 'if your work is mainly outside make sure you exchange it for new from time to time'.

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#17

Re: Hard Hats, What Purpose?

10/12/2013 3:03 PM

Your assessment that there's no danger on that strawberry line is flawed. Something puts those berries on that moving belt, so if it clogs partially or completely, it starts building up the berries and can put out many pounds of them at once. So big pile of berries moves down conveyor belt towards the middle of the belt where there's the most stretch, then berries fall off the side on worker. Berry juice and slop can be the source of severe injury as easily as a steel support beam falling.

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#18

Re: Hard Hats, What Purpose?

10/13/2013 1:01 AM

You see similar in most food processing plants. My guess is it is serving as more of a bump protection for the workers.

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#19

Re: Hard Hats, What Purpose?

10/13/2013 2:18 AM

In the UK, food hygiene regulations insist on hair being kept from falling into foodstuffs. The management have probably taken the view that they can provide the same PPE to all staff by having the hair net/hat as a single unit for production & warehouse staff.

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#20

Re: Hard Hats, What Purpose?

10/13/2013 2:47 PM

I will also add my 2 cents in by saying that hard hats are also there in certain cases to prevent injury caused by the user walking into things (low beams, pieces of machinery, etc) and being hit in the head through the actions of others (workers manoeuvring beams or raw product around the factory, etc).

Oddly enough this came up when I was working on a large piece of plant that I was crawling through, wiring, etc. The customer turned up after we had been working for weeks with no injuries or issues and required we all wore hard hats, at which time I promptly banged my head a number of times (within the first few minutes, and right in front of the customer) because I kept misjudging the now reduced head height clearances.

Customer said.......well it is a good thing we made you wear a hard hat.

I couldn't quite figure out why hard hats were mandatory when working on wind farm sites until I was told that under certain conditions ice could form on the blades and fall off. They are there because, hey you never know.

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#21
In reply to #20

Re: Hard Hats, What Purpose?

10/13/2013 4:37 PM

One thing the hard hat may keep you from an head injury from falling ice. But your neck will still snap.

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#22
In reply to #21

Re: Hard Hats, What Purpose?

10/13/2013 5:43 PM

Nah, I am sure you will be fine. After all after a near miss on site one day they recommended vehicles not park close to the blades due to chances of damage and injury, so a hard hat should do the trick.

Actually the ice can get pretty big apparently.

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#25
In reply to #22

Re: Hard Hats, What Purpose?

10/14/2013 7:36 AM

got it, I'll keep one in the car at all times...

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#23

Re: Hard Hats, What Purpose?

10/13/2013 7:12 PM

If the general environment has localized hazards, although the hazards do not exist throughout the environment, but the workers move around in the environment at times, it would make sense for management to mandate the wearing of protective headwear because if they were permitted to remove them in some areas, human nature would result in people sometimes forgetting to put them back on when they moved to a more hazardous area, specially if they were in a hurry.

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#24

Re: Hard Hats, What Purpose?

10/14/2013 3:47 AM

It all boils down to Risk Assessment.

In the UK, hard hats are required to be worn anywhere where there is a risk of injury to the head other than should the individual fall over. So a drunkard coming back from the pub late at night will not need a hard hat; many use traffic cones instead.

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