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Safety helmets protect against falling objects, bumps and electrical hazards. Hats are provided for sun and rain protection.

Safety helmets

In general, a safety helmet must be worn where a person may:

  • be struck on the head by a falling object
  • strike his/her head against a fixed object
  • inadvertently come into contact with electrical hazards

'Bump caps', commonly worn to protect against minimum sideways impact, do not provide protection against any of the hazards described above.


A wide range of accessories can be fitted to helmets to make them more suitable for variable working conditions. Examples include:

  • a retaining strap worn under the chin or at the nape of the neck
  • a bracket and cable clip for the attachment of a lamp
  • an eye shield, face shield or welding shield
  • a wide brim for additional shade in hot climates
  • neck flaps for protection against weather, molten metal splash, hot substances and similar
  • a lining for cold conditions
  • ear muffs

Care should be taken to ensure that accessories and their attachment systems do not reduce the safety characteristics of the helmet nor adversely affect the balance or comfort of the helmet. Particular care should be given to the electrical resistance.


The following should be considered:

  • nature and location of the work
  • extent of adjustment for comfort
  • accessories must be compatible with the make of helmet used
  • sweat bands
  • white helmets will provide better heat reflection and are easily seen in poor lighting conditions

Unsafe practices

The following practices are considered detrimental to the safe working life and performance of the helmet and must be avoided:

  • storage or placement of helmets near any window, particularly the rear window of motor vehicles, through which excessive heat can be generated. Helmets placed on the rear window ledge of motor vehicles may also become dangerous missiles in the event of an accident or when sudden braking occurs.
  • failure to follow manufacturer's cleaning instructions.  The helmet may be damaged and rendered ineffective by chemicals such as petroleum and petroleum products, cleaning agents, paints and adhesives, without the damage being visible to the user.
  • alteration, distortion or damage to the harness or to the shell such as splits and cracks.
  • the use of safety helmets for any other purpose than that for which they are designed, for example, as seats, liquid receptacles, wheel chocks


It is recommended that safety helmets be cleaned regularly. In general, normal washing methods using warm water and soap are adequate. The use of solvents, very hot water, or harsh abrasives is not advisable.

Inspection and maintenance

All safety helmet components and accessories should be visually inspected prior to use by the wearer for signs of dents, cracks, penetration or other damage due to impact, rough treatment or unauthorised alterations which could reduce the degree of safety provided.

Helmets showing damage or deterioration to the shell should be immediately withdrawn from service and discarded (completely destroyed). Helmets with sound shells but with damaged or defective harness components should be withdrawn from service and the complete harness and cradle replaced.

Reissue of safety helmets

No safety helmet should be reissued unless the helmet has been thoroughly cleaned and inspected. In general, when a helmet is being re-issued to a different person at least a new sweatband should be fitted.

Working life

Excessive discolouration of the shell colour or weathering of the surface may indicate a loss of strength. Helmets which have been in service for longer than three years should be thoroughly inspected and replaced as necessary.

Plastic components of harnesses may deteriorate more rapidly under aggressive service conditions and in these cases harnesses should be replaced at intervals not longer than two years.

Sun hats

People who are required to work outdoors shall be provided with a hat which affords maximum protection from the sun. The hat chosen for this purpose will reflect the nature of the work, duration of exposure, and other personal protective equipment required, such as goggles or earmuffs. Sun hats shall provide a suitable brim, peak or neck flap as appropriate.

Wet weather hats

People who are required to work outdoors during periods of rain shall be provided with a waterproof hat or hood which offers the maximum amount of protection practicable having regard to the nature of the work, duration of exposure and other personal protective equipment required, such as goggles or earmuffs.

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