With head injuries accounting for 6 percent of nonfatal workplace injuries, OSHA is urging companies to move away from traditional hard hats and toward more modern safety helmets.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration said Dec. 11 it's replacing the traditional hard hats its employees use on inspection sites with more versatile and functional models.
In a detailed bulletin, the agency said traditional hard hats are often made with hard plastics like HDPE, but it said the more modern versions combine lightweight composites, fiberglass and advanced thermoplastics.
The agency's bulletin listed eight types of jobs where companies should consider using more modern safety helmets, including in the construction and oil and gas industries, as well as more specialized work environments where it said face shields, hearing protection or communications devices built into the helmets could prove vital.
"The significance of head protection in hazardous work environments cannot be overstated," the agency said.
OSHA has been making the rounds of some industries advocating for better headgear. In June, for example, it talked about a safety helmet pilot program at a meeting of the National Association of Home Builders.