Somewhere in one of our past articles, I noticed that October is HELMET SAFETY MONTH. Every month is a good time to have the opportunity to encourage riders or workers of all types to protect those noggins. If you stop and think about it, head protection is required in many recreational activities, as well as occupations.
First, the world of sports:
- During research, I found that horseback riding, such as equestrian events, carries a higher injury rate than motorcycle riding. Most head injuries happen when the horse being ridden spooks, bucks, or bolts. Of the seventy thousand who had to be treated in emergency rooms last year from horseback riding injuries, twelve thousand had head injuries. Helmets work. Damage from a head injury can help be prevented by wearing ASTM/SEI approved helmets that are correctly fitted and have the harness firmly applied.
- Motorcycle helmets save lives. I cringe every time I see someone riding a motorcycle down the road, not wearing a helmet. These helmets differ greatly from the equestrian helmets. Riders that wear helmets have a 28% better chance of not being injured than those who don’t. Motorcycle helmets should meet the FMVSS 218 standard to be certified.
- ATV helmets should have DOT approved helmets, that are vented, and chin strap fitted properly.
- Bicycle riders should understand that their bike helmet is an essential part of their safety gear that should be worn every time they ride, regardless of the distance they plan to go. Helmets can reduce the risk of severe brain injuries by 88%; however only 15 to 25 per cent of kids 14 and under usually ride a bike helmet. Bike helmets should be approved by the USCPS. (Safe Kids Kenosha-Racine).
- Football helmets are also an essential part of gear for players of that sport. Newer ones are made with extra padding and provide more safety for athletes than the older types of helmets. And, thankfully, the rules of the game protect players from receiving head injuries, through penalties for those who purposely aim for the helmet.
Now, from our outlook on providing safety helmets or hardhats: OSHA requires that construction workers, and all others who run the risk of bumping into things, or having items dropped on their heads, wear hardhats. If you could see a hardhat that had been hit by something heavy, you wouldn’t mind wearing one at all. There are many types, including patriotic ones, glo-in-the-dark ones, those that are suitable for persons who work around electricity, western hardhats, and the ever-popular team hardhats. Workers can support their favorite NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL, NCAA and other teams, all the while being compliant with safety regulations of their company. Hardhats can be customized with company logos, as well. Work hardhats must meet ANSI standards for compliance. When you buy hard hats, look for any statements that ensure those you consider are “OSHA-compliant” and/or comply with current ANSI standards of manufacture and protection. Once you are satisfied your choices meet these recommendations, you can pick out the style and color that fits your requirements and preferences.
You certainly don’t want a tree limb to come crashing down on your head, so when you get out the chain saw, wear your safety helmet! I am sure I haven’t covered all the helmets out there, especially the ones our military wears. You would never see a soldier go out into the field without wearing all of his/her protective gear, so think of wearing head protection the same way. Use your head – wear that helmet or hardhat!