Wearing a hard hat is essential for protecting your most valuable tool: your brain. The effects of Traumatic Brain Injury or TBI can be devastating, not just for the injured, but for their families as well.
There are two important parts of choosing the proper headgear with regard to regulatory standards:
- Type - Standards referring to impact resistance
- Class - Those concerning the electrical rating of a hard hat
What is a climbing helmet?
Brimless helmets give you a better field of vision on the job. We're all familiar with hard hats sporting partial or full brims. They give a measure of safety from falling objects by deflecting them.
Brims can also shield our eyes from direct sunlight. They can be used in any situation, provided their Type and Class designations match the task at hand.
However, there are scenarios where brimless headgear - climbing helmets - provide increased visibility of your surroundings, and still maintain hazard protection.
Because climbing helmets are virtually brimless, you have a wider field of vision, particularly when looking up. This makes them extremely desirable for industrial tasks that require a lot of climbing - ladders, power and telecom poles, etc.
Of course, up isn't the only direction you might be climbing. A brimless climbing helmet will benefit utility workers as well. Gas, water and sewer pipes, and even electrical lines and cables are installed underground. A brimless helmet might be more useful than a brimmed hard hat when descending into a manhole or working within a confined space.
In fact, any task that requires a greater field of vision or could use a low profile helmet to reduce snag hazards would be a great time to go brimless.
To vent or not to vent…
Obviously, vents on a climbing helmet reduce heat stress. But, just like its brimmed hard hat counterpart, certain restrictions apply. To comply with ANSI Z89.1-2014, a helmet or hard hat cannot be vented when used in electrical work. The same is true in Canada, following the CSA Z94.1-2015 standard.
Vents could allow an energized conductor or cable to come in contact with the worker's scalp. If using a climbing helmet for work around energized components, make sure your headgear is NOT vented.
For general construction - governed by the same ANSI and CSA standards - a vented helmet or hard hat is permissible as long as no live electrical cables, wires or other sources will be encountered.
When wearing a climbing helmet, use a chinstrap to keep it on your head at all times.
Of course, ear and eye protection are required in many industries. Accessories for climbing helmets include attachable ear muffs, full-face visors, and eye shields. Shields and earmuffs must be designed specifically for the helmet or hard hat on which they're being used.
If your industrial tasks include climbing (at heights or into the ground), consider a climbing helmet for personal head protection. Your brain will thank you.