Has your hard hat expired? Safety experts urge workers to “check your head protection”

Arco, Headway and Centurion bring head injury to the forefront of workplace safety for Hard Hat Awareness Week 14th – 20th June 2021

Twenty per cent of all fatal and non-fatal injuries in the UK are head-related, yet head protection accounts for only three per cent of personal protective equipment (PPE) purchases.[2] When head protection is acquired, nearly a quarter of workers are unaware that exceeding the expiry date of a hard hat can reduce its protective qualities. Arco, the UK’s leading safety company, is joining forces with Headway – the brain injury association, and Centurion, head protection system specialist, to raise awareness of the importance of selecting, wearing and maintaining head protection.

Any kind of head injury can lead to debilitating and long-term health issues, so ensuring that head protection is worn and cared for correctly is critical in preventing life changing injuries. Helmet shells are designed to be shock absorbent; however, the material properties used to protect workers can also be sensitive to chemical attack. More than half of workers mark or apply decals and labels to their helmet, unknowingly decreasing its durability by compromising the integrity of the material it is made from.[3] To maintain safety standards, workers should remove any unchecked stickers and sanitise and clean their head protection equipment in a safe environment. Additionally, workers should audit their safety helmet or hard hat for signs of wear and tear and make sure it is in date.

Most manufacturers recommend replacing hard hats every five years regardless of external appearance. However, excessive wear and tear in extreme environments such as exposure to high temperatures, chemicals, or sunlight can significantly shorten the product’s life span. When evaluating a time frame for safe usage, workers should conduct risk assessments to consider their unique environment.

Workers should also consider the daily hazards they face in the workplace. The European Standard for industrial safety helmets is EN 397, which provides shock absorption, penetration resistance and protection against impact. An EN 397 helmet is most suitable for workers on the ground, while those working at height should look for additional protection, opting for an EN 12492 helmet.

Alex Turgoose, PPE Product and Procurement Manager at Arco, says, “We are passionate about raising awareness of the correct use of safety equipment. Head injuries are a major problem in the workplace. When selecting head protection, take it seriously, and consider the impact of incorrect choices.”

Chris Tidy, Technical and Training Specialist at Centurion Safety Products, says, “We hope that Hard Hat Awareness Week will initiate a shift in attitudes towards hard hat safety and the wider issue of brain health.”

Peter McCabe, Chief Executive of Headway, says, “Brain injury is more common than you think, and its impact can be life-changing for the injured person, their partner, family members and friends. Ensuring your head protection is worn and cared for correctly is key to remaining safe.”

About Arco: What they do and how they’re different

Arco is the UK’s leading safety products and services company. Its core purpose is to keep people safe at work. It distributes a world-class range of over 170,000 quality assured, branded and own brand products, including personal protective equipment, workwear, safety footwear, gloves, workplace safety and hygiene products. It is unique.

Arco Professional Safety Services provide consultancy, training, services and equipment to manage the most complex and high-risk, high hazard scenarios. Specialising in working at height, confined space and respiratory management, they deliver solutions for those working in situations with the highest risk of serious injury or irreversible damage to health.

Headquartered in Hull, Arco reaches its customers through its extensive product catalogue, website and national network of retail stores. The company has sales of over £320m and employs more than 1600 people nationwide. Its 400,000 sqft National Distribution Centre distributes products to 25k customers in the UK and Ireland, dispatching 150 pallets and 8000 parcels a day. Arco makes it easy for customers to procure and issue PPE with services such as digital procurement, vending, a mobile issue unit, wearer packing and branded workwear from their in-house Clothing Centre based in Preston.

As the market leader, Arco is committed to helping shape the UK’s safety agenda in order to ensure workers go home safe every night. Through an extensive public affairs programme, Arco experts have contributed to some of the key debates on health and safety regulation, product quality and standards, PPE procurement and emergency planning.

Arco is committed to providing safety equipment that is genuine and compliant with relevant standards and regulations, Arco tests both its own product range as well as carrying out surveillance on other products in the market to ensure compliance. With a five-step product assurance process, Arco remains the only safety distributor with an independently accredited testing laboratory, this assisted by a team of specialists in their Xiamen, China office who support with sourcing, quality control and factory inspections. Additionally, it is a member of the BSIF Registered Safety Suppliers Scheme, and Arco experts sit on numerous Standards Boards.

Arco was the first member within the H&S industry to join the Ethical Trading Initiative (ETI) incorporating its internationally recognised code of labour practice into its own ethical policy and in 2010 became a member of Sedex, the Supplier Ethical Data Exchange. To ensure ethical standards are met throughout its supply chain, Arco carries out regular independent supplier auditing. Working with the ETI and other regulatory bodies, the company plays a leading role in helping to educate and eliminate modern day slavery across the globe.

Principles of sustainable development have long been embedded in the way Arco does business. Arco’s Sustainability Action team has committed to ensuring the business behaves responsibly in all areas, investing significant time and resource to identify ways to reduce plastics, packaging and recycling.

Founded in 1884 and with a heritage spanning five generations, Arco demonstrates traditional family values and is dedicated to its Corporate Social Responsibility policy. Arco is committed to help keep communities safe, inspire young people to achieve their full potential and to enhance local life, making the communities they serve better places in which to live, work and invest. It does this through charity and community support, donating 1% of pre-tax profits each year. Arco also gives colleagues two days’ paid leave each year to volunteer in the community and the opportunity to partner with and sponsor community groups and charities, forming lasting relationships that support them in the vital services that they offer.

For more information, visit www.arco.co.uk.

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