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Hard hat history
4

Hard hat history

Hard hat history

(OP)
I enjoy watching engineering type programs on TV.....about constructing the tallest building, the longest bridge, the largest ship, or whatever. In watching these various programs, I have noticed that any construction that occurs outside of the USA, all of the construction workers are wearing hard hats with a chin strap. While intuitively it seems like a logical idea, I have never seen this practice in the USA. Is this a geographic thing, a cultural thing, both? It probably boils down to money like everything else, but it just seems for being as safety conscious as we are these days, our hard hats would have chin straps.

RE: Hard hat history

Probably for the same reason you DO NOT wear the chin strap on hour helmet in the military.

If a projectile does strike the helmet, there is a chance that the force from the blow will cause the helmet to dislodge, taking your head with it if the chin strap is attached.

That would ruin your day. nosmiley

Mike McCann, PE, SE (WA)


RE: Hard hat history

Make the chin strap out of something or connected to something that tears easily or stretches.

RE: Hard hat history

I'm in the US. I met an operator yesterday that told me he had done some work as a spotter during crane operations and when he worked on projects that were at a very great height (>10 stories lets say), he always worried about his hard hat falling off when he would look every which way. He said he got permission to run masking tape over the helmet and around his chin like a makeshift chin strap so that it wouldn't fall off. I usually just give the hardhat a couple extra clicks when I am afraid the helmet might fall off because I am looking in odd directions.

RE: Hard hat history

I noticed the chin straps used mostly in the Far East. In the Middle East even the hard hats are not always used.
However, chin straps were used in the military - it helps to have a heavy helmet kept in place when you are running and jumping around.

RE: Hard hat history

Skanska just announced this as part of safety week:

http://blog.usa.skanska.com/why-were-piloting-a-ne...

Our company is considering it.. although we're expecting some push-back when we make site visits (even though the ones we're looking at are ANSI rated).

----
The name is a long story -- just call me Lo.

RE: Hard hat history

Compliance is everything...

Mike McCann, PE, SE (WA)


RE: Hard hat history

JAE... in the first photo, the taller guy will get hit first, hopefully...

Dik

RE: Hard hat history

Look again dik, there's only ONE person in that first photo.

John R. Baker, P.E. (ret)
EX-Product 'Evangelist'
Irvine, CA
Siemens PLM:
UG/NX Museum:

The secret of life is not finding someone to live with
It's finding someone you can't live without

RE: Hard hat history

Every hard hat I've had at my present job has come with a chin strap. I've even used it on occasion.

RE: Hard hat history

<tangent>
I can walk upright anywhere within a submarine and not hit anything with my head.
... unless I'm wearing a hard hat; then I hit every damn thing in the overhead.
One fine day I set my hard hat down on a torpedo rack or some other handy surface while I was tending to some problem not far away.
I came back not twenty minutes later, and somebody had done a beautiful job of painting an officer's 'scrambled eggs' on the brim, in aluminum paint. Not surprised that a random object got painted; there was _always_ a crew of painters on board while we built them. I was surprised at the detail work, because the painters weren't issued artists brushes, just a long handled 1" sash brush with a cranked ferrule.
I was actually quite proud of that hat, simple recognition of my rank as a young pushy asshole, which was sort of my job at the time.
I wish I'd kept it. Not the job; the hat.
</tangent>

Mike Halloran
Pembroke Pines, FL, USA

RE: Hard hat history

I think I've still got my old hard hat (it was more of 'bump hat') that we had to wear when we were on a job site, along with my 'greens' with the company name on the back and the steel-toed shoes we had to wear. I only went into the field a few times a year for start-ups and sometimes for an upgrade job. However, my last year with that company (1979) I was given the job of redesigning and rebuilding a machine in the field, without taking it out of production. Made 28 trips from Michigan to Connecticut before it was done, spending well over 100 days total (we could only get access to the machine on Saturday and then had to be there on Sunday to see to it that it started back-up again). Got to where I knew the airline schedule between Saginaw and Windsor Locks by heart. We had a crew there full-time while I would fly in every other week with more parts for the job.

That's where I heard the joke about the difference between an engineer and a millwright; An engineer washes his hands BEFORE he goes to the bathroom.

John R. Baker, P.E. (ret)
EX-Product 'Evangelist'
Irvine, CA
Siemens PLM:
UG/NX Museum:

The secret of life is not finding someone to live with
It's finding someone you can't live without

RE: Hard hat history

JRB... I saw that... comment was for humour...

thanks, Dik

RE: Hard hat history

Let's make sure no one loses their head over this issue.

Mike McCann, PE, SE (WA)


RE: Hard hat history

I see more and more job sites requiring safety lanyards on hard hats. One end attaches to the ha and the other end has a clip that attaches to the lapel of your coveralls.
I wish my partner had been using one when he dropped his hard hat from the 200 foot level of a coker.

Bill
--------------------
"Why not the best?"
Jimmy Carter

RE: Hard hat history

I especially love the safety departments that require the use of a hard hat even when there is nothing at all happening "over head".

Prettymuch every helmet other than hard hats has a chin-strap.

The Skanska design looks nice.

RE: Hard hat history

Ever bend over while looking at some machine's detail? This is why the hats that we wore when out in the field working on one of our pieces of machinery were called 'bump hats'. I've still got some scars, currently hidden by my hair (at least for a while yet) from when I wasn't wearing my 'bump hat' winky smile

John R. Baker, P.E. (ret)
EX-Product 'Evangelist'
Irvine, CA
Siemens PLM:
UG/NX Museum:

The secret of life is not finding someone to live with
It's finding someone you can't live without

RE: Hard hat history

The only two that I have are both illegal now, one is Al and the other fiberglass.
Both had lightweight chin straps, barely enough to hold them on when you looked down.

= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =
P.E. Metallurgy, Plymouth Tube

RE: Hard hat history

The Skanska example looks similar to the type which rope access guys use in the UK.

I agree that the use of helmets in some environments is almost pointless, anything which comes through 2' of reinforced concrete substation roof won't be stopping for my hard hat. But the rules say I have to wear one, so that's how it is...

RE: Hard hat history

"Probably for the same reason you DO NOT wear the chin strap on hour helmet in the military. "

Every picture I see of (modern day) military personnel shows them with chin straps on. Certainly pilots, airborne types and tank drivers are usually wearing them...how would a helmet stay on your head through a snap roll/jump from a plane/run through an obstacle course without it?

I have a distinct memory of my friend, as a USMC sergeant, berating one of his troopers who was on duty and had his chin strap unhooked (this was in late 80s, first of the new kevlar helmets).

Helmet specs since the end of WW2 have included a breakaway buckle to prevent injuries due to the helmet hanging up on something.

RE: Hard hat history

Scotty, I think you are right about the hard hat not helping in some locations. But what I see is the people writing the rules not wanting to go too far with requiring them, or not requiring them.

Ever see someone mowing the lawn with a hard hat? It's outside work.

On the other hand, we require people who replace electric meters to wear a face shield attached to a hard hat, because of the flash potential of 480 VAC. Nothing is going to fall on them, but it holds the face shield.

RE: Hard hat history

In relation to PPE and some of the ridiculous rules, there was a recent death at the Port near where I live. A worker fell off the jetty and drowned. Someone I know was asked to investigate what happened and how it could be prevented in the future. Apparently the guy who drowned was found with his shoe laces half undone. He fell into the water and wasn't able to remove his steel cap shoes in time before drowning. His PPE equipment was essentially the direct cause of his death.

RE: Hard hat history

Are you sure that it was simple steel-toed shoes that weighed him down? The pair I used to have wasn't all that much heavier than a normal pair of oxfords. Perhaps he was wearing, in addition the steel-toed shoes, the much heavier and bulkier toe and shin guards often worn as a sort of 'overshoe':

John R. Baker, P.E. (ret)
EX-Product 'Evangelist'
Irvine, CA
Siemens PLM:
UG/NX Museum:

The secret of life is not finding someone to live with
It's finding someone you can't live without

RE: Hard hat history

There's an argument that says PPE is at its most useful if you've chosen it based on the risk of the job at hand. Depending on what's going on, the jetty of a working port is often one of those places where steel toe-caps, hard hats and hi-vis add value (not just theatre) - and there's plenty of jobs where a personal flotation device makes sense too.

A.

RE: Hard hat history

So no hearing protection that snaps onto your hard hat?

No face shield for arc-flash? Or acid spray?

No fall protection?

I think hard hats are just the starting point for most PPE.

RE: Hard hat history

Not sure if that was in response to mine? Quite agree - I was reacting more to nonplussed's story.

RE: Hard hat history

No, I agree. Just that the number of different PPE requirements and the number of hazards makes it difficult for someone to know what to wear.

I also see that I might need a flotation device if I'm not wearing the right fall protection, while I am around a cooling tower.

But PPE is not everything that might be needed. Railing, or approach distance markings, or other such might be required.

But warning signs don't work if the person does not see or read them, or decides to ignore them.

RE: Hard hat history

And don't forget the lightning rod and grounding strap on the hat to protect from lightning strikes.

RE: Hard hat history

Tin foil lining to prevent HR Department mind control experiements... winky smile

RE: Hard hat history

Construction workers wear Hard Hats.
Mechanics wear Bump Hats.
There is a difference.

Bill
--------------------
"Why not the best?"
Jimmy Carter

RE: Hard hat history

As I said, when I was in the field doing an install or upgrade, we wore 'bump hats' despite the fact that some of our machines were the size of a small house or building.

Here's a picture taken during the installation of a final bread proofer at a bakery in Forth Worth, TX:



Taken October, 1971 (Minolta SRT-101)

John R. Baker, P.E. (ret)
EX-Product 'Evangelist'
Irvine, CA
Siemens PLM:
UG/NX Museum:

The secret of life is not finding someone to live with
It's finding someone you can't live without

RE: Hard hat history

Bill,

We agreed to trial bump caps last year for work within substations because the safety guys weren't happy with us not wearing hard hats. We were undertaking major maintenance on a large MCC and there was a credible risk of someone standing up beneath an open panel door and hurting themselves. We found they were lighter and more comfortable than a hard hat, and less prone to falling forward or falling off. The downside was that at least one of us blush managed to walk halfway across site wearing a bump cap, mistakenly thinking he was wearing his hard hat.

RE: Hard hat history

I generally don't wear a chinstrap, but I have one tucked up inside my hard hat so I have it with me (between the suspension and the shell, but down near the ratchet so it isn't really above my head). I have had to use it occasionally because of wind. I think the chinstrap photos outside the US are just compliance with whatever instruction are in place.

RE: Hard hat history

Chin strap is generally wrapped around the back of the hard hat when not in use.

RE: Hard hat history

The chinstrap on my standard hardhat is attached using a snap connection that's strong enough to stop the helmet blowing off, but would break away long before it could transmit enough force to do my neck any harm. The strap almost invariably lives hooked over the brim at the front of the helmet.

If I'm working aloft, I'll chuck it in the corner and use a climbing helmet (which complies with the same standards) instead - proper harness, better view in all directions, but too pricey to be left lying around at random and lost.

...and isn't it time somebody mentioned the Kafkaesque nature of some of the PPE rules?

A.

RE: Hard hat history

Kafakesque?!?

I work for an energy transport company. That sounds more impressive than 'pipeline, doesn't it?

Our PPE is chiseled in stone and accorded more respect than Moses' tablets.

One of our rules is that you must ALWAYS wear a hard hat. Always. Like when you're working on a pipeline right of way twenty miles from civilization, in the middle of a soybean field where the tallest object with a one-mile radius is three feet.

In case of, you know, meteorites 'n' stuff...

old field guy

RE: Hard hat history

I've often thought that, at least in terms of color and cleanliness, hardhats could be used to tell who's-who around a construction site winky smile

Sort of like when I worked in an engineering office, how you dressed was sort of sign of your place in the 'pecking order'. Now this was back in the 60's and 70's, but where I worked, the draftsmen all wore short-sleeved white shirts and if you wore a tie, it was usually a bow-tie. Supervisors and designers wore long-sleeved white shirts and usually a necktie. Managers and engineers wore suits or at least sport coats. Now this was just in the office. When you were in the field, managers still wore their suits but when engineers were at a customer site it was usually to help install or update some piece of equipment so we wore company 'greens' and bump hats.

John R. Baker, P.E. (ret)
EX-Product 'Evangelist'
Irvine, CA
Siemens PLM:
UG/NX Museum:

The secret of life is not finding someone to live with
It's finding someone you can't live without

RE: Hard hat history

The one item that I would get a charge out of, was a local contracting company. If you went to one of their job sites without a hard hat, you would be issued one of theirs. It was bright pink, emblazoned on the back was the statement " I forgot my stupid hard hat." .
They always got turned back in to the contractor.
B.E.

You are judged not by what you know, but by what you can do.

RE: Hard hat history

when I worked in a mine, hats were color coded

green - newbie or visitor
brown - shop, warehouse, mechanics, welders
white - management / engineers
red - EMT / safety
yellow - drillers and equipment operators
grease color - oilers

RE: Hard hat history

I've worked at several facilities where color-coded hardhats were used.

One use I totally agreed with was a company that had a distinctive color for the electrical staff. Nobody wearing another color was allowed inside the switchgear and motor control areas.

old field guy

RE: Hard hat history

UK industry often uses green hard hats to distinguish people with first-aid qualifications.

The Royal Navy uses Blue helmets for ratings and white for senior rates and officers (and the Enemy wear berets even when below decks).

A.

RE: Hard hat history

Why not stickers for first aid qualified, and fall protection qualified?

RE: Hard hat history

JohmRBaker -

Your comments on the white shirts and ties stuck a nerve in me. My first job out of school was as a Facilities Engineer in the Aerospace industry. In one month, I graduated as a CE (5 year curriculum), got married, bought my first car and moved from MN to Southern California. I went to work for the supplier and developer of the rocket engines for 90% of the space program. When I arrived and was ushered to my drawing board and desk, I noticed that every one wore the same uniform - Cotton/polyester short sleeve shirt, black or blue slacks and a narrow dark tie (usually black) and this applied to everyone including managers and supervisors out of convenience. The short sleeves were just common sense because of the weather in the LA area and at Edwards AFB. The only way to tell the rank was to look at the ID badge to determine the security level clearance.

We were strongly encouraged/forced to take evening engineering classes (graduate school)to boost your resume (undated by the company monthly) for submission of the "team" for new projects that required development. I had classes 3 or 4 nights per week at USC for 2 years and felt at home since all of the engineers in the class from different employers were dressed the same. The evening classes were great since the employer paid the tuition, and paid for dinner before class and for driving 40 miles per night. It was the second best position I had in my 40 years of engineering because of the exposure to real very challenging engineering.

Dick

Engineer and international traveler interested in construction techniques, problems and proper design.

RE: Hard hat history

My comments about office dress code was from back in the Midwest, Saginaw, MI, to be exact. By the time I moved to SoCal, I was working for a software company where dress code was a LOT less strict winky smile. Now I worked in sales for the first seven years so I always wore a suit and tie to the office since you never knew if you might be interacting with a potential customer or not. Later, after I had moved to a staff position in R & D, while I still tended to wear a dress shirt and sports coat, I had pretty much given-up the tie, except when I was presenting at conferences. Now in the states we tended to be a bit more casual, but overseas, particularly in Asia, it was more formal, shirt and ties and often a full suit or at best a conservative sports coat.

John R. Baker, P.E. (ret)
EX-Product 'Evangelist'
Irvine, CA
Siemens PLM:
UG/NX Museum:

The secret of life is not finding someone to live with
It's finding someone you can't live without

RE: Hard hat history

Working in factories ties were usually forbidden for safety reasons, and poly also, only cotton or wool (flammability).

I wore a tie to my daughters wedding, but not my Dad's funeral.
I never were a tie for work anymore, not even in Europe or Asia.
Nice slacks and shirt, very nice sports coats, and killer shoes.

Working out of a home office it can be hard to motivate yourself some mornings to not just pull on shorts, t-shirt, and flip-flops. But I try to dress in collared shirts real shoes every day.

= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =
P.E. Metallurgy, Plymouth Tube

RE: Hard hat history

John,
I was doing some research on safety standards in Commonwealth countries a while back when I came across this: http://www.protecdirect.co.uk/Protec-PPE-Blog/Hard...

........................................
The EAC - One People, One Destiny... One Federation.

RE: Hard hat history

Worked in Mexico for several weeks: one customer required chin straps, another did not.

The straps were incredibly uncomfortable, increased the heat load and stress while at 98 degrees/95% humidity.

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