Hard Hat Regulation
Reading through some construction articles earlier in the week, I came across something about the scrapping of hard hats in the construction industry.
My first reaction was shock and I immediately thought that it was an irresponsible decision on behalf of the HSE to revoke their Construction (Head Protection) Regulations of 1989 from the 6th April 2013.
However, after some digging around and looking through the Health and Safety Executives website, I realised that they haven’t actually “scrapped the use of hard hats law”, merely realised that it was already covered by another existing law – the Personal Protective at Work Regulations 1992 (the PPE Regulations).
Construction employers are still required to provide all employees with a hard hat, and all employees are required to wear them where there is a risk of head injury.
The construction union UCATT claims that “the HSE has broken promises to raise awareness of new regulations which came into effect over the weekend”, and that the union says are less prescriptive.
Steve Murphy, general secretary of UCATT has said that “Construction workers are being placed in danger by the scrapping of these regulations. Many construction companies will use the scrapping of these regulations as an excuse not to provide life saving safety equipment.”
He said that the HSE had undertaken to promote the change in regulations to ensure all firms knew provision and use of head gear was still needed.
However in March the HSE said “they were seeking support from the industry to deliver the message about the continuing need to provide hard hats”
We all know the importance of wearing a hard hat, when there is a risk of something falling onto your head, but a little bit of common sense is also required.
Working on the very top of a scaffolding site, with no-one working above, no crane etc, there isn’t much risk of anything falling on top of you, and if you were to fall off then a hard hat isn’t going to save you. However, working at the bottom of a site, with workers above, then it is absolutely necessary to wear a hard hat.
But the necessity to wear a hard hat for all construction site workers isn’t always practical. A carpenter working inside trying to do 2nd fix, will continuously have to tilt his head, and the hat will always fall off. Same for tilers, plasterers, painters and decorators.
Maybe the HSE should amend the 1940’s advertising slogan “if you want to get ahead, get a hat” to “If you want to keep a head, get a hat”!