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Why hard hats are integral to safety on job sites

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When you look at a typical hard hat worn on construction sites all over America, admittedly, it doesn't look like a whole lot of protection for the head. But hard hats do, in fact, provide a great deal of protection to those who wear them.

Hard hats are typically made from polythylene (HDPE) or polycarbonate thermoplastic since these materials are strong, easily molded and lightweight. They protect workers from electrical exposures, impacts from falling objects, and bumps and scrapes. They offer far more protection than their appearance belies.

Hard hats don't protect against all dangers

It is unrealistic to expect a hard hat to protect a worker from a catastrophic accident on a construction site. They cannot, and are not designed to do so. However, in many instances, the use of a hard hat can prevent a head injury from turning into an on-the-job fatality. That's why the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) mandates the use of them on all construction sites.

In 2011, for example, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that nearly 393 fatal injuries occurred because of falling equipment and other objects at American workplaces. While it is unknown how many of those deaths were to workers wearing hard hats, the fact is that hard hats protect against serious head injuries and deaths every day.

Why wear a hard hat when no dangers are apparent?

All construction sites have hard hat zones. Within those zones, it often appears as if there were no dangers that could befall the workers. But on a construction site, sudden dangers can occur with little or no warning. Workers don't have the time to evade objects flying from an unexpected blast or other catastrophic incident. In those cases, simply having their heads covered by a hard hat could be the difference between survivable injury and death.

Did you suffer a head injury on a construction site?

Of course, hard hats cannot prevent every head injury to workers. A worker who is wearing a properly-fitting, OSHA-approved hard hat can still suffer devastating head injuries on the job. If you suffered a head injury on a construction site, you may need to apply for workers' compensation benefits.

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