workmans comp news

- Workplace Injury Prevention -
Hardhats for a Healthy Head

Head injuries are serious things.  You’ve probably see signs around your workplace and posted all over the break room and may even remember that cheesy video on the first day all warning you to: Wear Your Hardhat!  Still, despite the workplace signage and dated instructional videos, a recent study by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) concerning work-related accidents and injuries finds that most workers who had head injuries were not wearing head protection.

Even though we’d prefer you never have an on-the-job head injury and hope that you are wearing a hardhat if you ever do, The Consumer Justice Group would like you to know that you can still receive workers comp.  If you have suffered an on-the-job head injury, please fill out one of our contact forms so that we can begin work for you. 

If you’ve been accident-free and want to learn more about protecting your most valuable possession – your brain – then please, read on.

How Hardhats Protect Against Head Injury
Though simple in design, a hardhat is your best protection against workplace head injuries.  This protective device is made of two parts: an outer polymer shell and an inner “carriage” or “suspension.”  The exterior shell acts like a shield against protruding and falling objects while the carriage provides a cushioning system against potentially traumatic blows. 

Your employer should require a hardhat at construction sites with a likelihood of head injuries from falling or protruding objects and at all demolition sites.  Additionally, employers should have a policy to replace immediately any hardhat that you or another employee feel is unsafe. 

Inspecting Your Hardhat
You should inspect your hardhat at the beginning of every shift.  Check the hardhat’s shell for cracks or dents.  Also check the hardhat for flexibility before wearing.  Be aware that extreme hot and cold as well as exposure to UV rays can cause the shell’s structure to become brittle. 

When testing for flexibility, push down on the top of the hardhat (the crown).  An old hardhat’s crown should be able to pop back as quickly as a new one.  If it does not, do not trust your or another’s life to it.

When checking the carriage, look for any tears or wearing in the material.  Also make sure that the carriage is keeping the shell 1” – 1¼” from the hardhat’s crown. Bullard and other hardhat manufacturers recommend that the entire suspension system be replaced every 12 months and the shell every 3 years.  Any hardhat should be replaced after it has performed a head injury prevention. 

Protecting Your Hardhat, Protecting Your Head
Hardhats are not lunchpails or stools; you should keep from carrying anything inside your hardhat or sitting on it as these actions weaken the carriage and shell respectively.  Though it might feel or look cool, drilling holes in a hardhat for ventilation or painting it damages the shell and can render the device’s ability to prevent head injury inoperable.

Hardhats should be regularly cleaned with warm water and a soft detergent to remove any grime or marks that might hide dents or other compromises in the shell.  Additionally, hardhats should be kept out of direct sunlight (including dashboards and the seats of vehicles).  Taking proper care of your hardhat today lets it take proper care of you tomorrow. 

What Not to do After a Head Injury
Our brains float inside our skulls in cerebrospinal fluid, which normally acts like a shock absorber.  The suddenness of head injuries, though, can cause your brain to ram against the skull and break blood vessels (hemorrhaging).  If you notice someone receive a head injury, let them lie.  Do not try to pick up or move the person unless he or she is in immediate danger.  Likewise, do not remove any object stuck in someone’s head or remove the hardhat.  Never, ever shake a person who has had a head injury to wake him or her. Do get medical immediately.  Do make your supervisor aware of the situation.

Like for any on-the-job injury, if you suffer a head trauma, however minor, make sure to report the incident to your supervisor.  There is nothing “manly” about being confined to a wheelchair unable to work because you thought it was nothing major at the time or you’d just “tough it out.”

Lawyers for Change.
If a head trauma or other on-the-job injury has put you out of work or hurt you in other ways, contact The Consumer Justice Group.  Our workers comp lawyers are here to help you get your life back in order.  We work and win for you.

The Workers' Rights News is a service of the Consumer Justice Group.

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