Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Using Your Head

The importance of head protection ...

"As the head’s protective armor against falling objects, hard hats are the first piece of PPE that construction workers grab when going to a job site. Yet traumatic head injuries still are on the rise. Experts try to explain why.

As the corporate vice president for safety at Donley Inc., a large construction contractor in Northeast Ohio, Carlos Figueroa Jr. knows a thing or two about head protection. But an incident a couple of years ago brought the importance of wearing a hard hat home.

According to Figueroa, a female worker was working on a job site near two co-workers who were trying to move a section of deck panels. All of a sudden, one of the panels fell down, striking her and knocking her to the floor. Because she was wearing a hard hat, the only injury she incurred was a scrape on her forehead from the bill of her hard hat as she fell down.

The worker was so appreciative of the hard hat saving her, says Figueroa, that she wanted to keep it as a souvenir.

“She told me, ‘Man, if I wasn’t wearing that hard hat ... Although I got this little scrape, it took the brunt of that hit,’” Figueroa remembers.

Examples like this one clearly bring the message home: Hard hats saves lives. If the Donley worker had not been wearing head protection, she could have incurred serious trauma to the head, disabling her or, worse, killing her.

Despite this and other anecdotal reports, traumatic head injuries still are a frequent occurrence among workers. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the majority of workers who suffered impact injuries to the head were not wearing head protection. Many experts attest that as they pass by random job sites on their way to work, they often see employees working without hard hats.

So if hard hats save lives, why do workers continue to suffer head injuries from falling objects or impacts to the head from falls?"    (Continued via Occupational Hazards)    [Ergonomics Resources]

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