Virginia construction companies are increasingly relying on safety hat designs that are used in mountain climbing and other extreme sports. This is because these types of safety hats are specifically designed to protect wearers from falls and may provide better head protection for employees.
Based on government data, there were 2,210 construction accidents that resulted in fatal traumatic brain injuries between 2003 and 2010. Typically, construction workers are required to wear hard hats. These hats are designed to have suspension bands and an inch between the shell of the hat and the employee's head. This spreads the impact over the hard hat, lowering the chance of the impact being transferred directly to the head. However, the advantage of safety hats designed for extreme sports is that they are less likely to fall off if an emergency occurs.
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health has been conducting research on protective helmets since the 1970s. The agency is working together with safety advocates, manufacturers and workers to provide the best possible head protection available.
Employees who work in areas where there are head injury risks are required by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to wear protective helmets. These helmets must meet specific standards set forth by the American National Standards Institute. If a worker is provided with a helmet that does not meet these standards and suffers an injury as a result, an attorney might suggest foregoing a claim for workers' compensation benefits and instead filing a lawsuit against the employer based on a reckless disregard for worker safety.