Providing the toughest and safest gear since 1979

Head Protection

Data provided by Centurion Safety

Head injuries are one of the most common causes of fatality. In the UK, according to the ''HSE UK 2020'' report, being struck on the head by moving, flying or falling objects accounted for 13% of worker deaths from 2014-19, and 10% of all non-fatal injuries in 2019. It is important to choose the correct head gear and use it correctly. In this complete guide to Head Protection, we will over these main topics:

  • Chapter1: Types of head protection: Bump Cap vs Safety Helmet vs Hard Hat
  • Chapter2: Difference between industrial helmets and work-at-height helmets
  • Chapter3: Compatibility with PPE/accessories: Eye and ear protection, winter liner, chin strap
  • Chapter4: Inspection: signs you may need new PPE
  • Chapter5: Colour code guide
  • Chapter6: FAQs

  • 📝 Chapter 1:
    Bump Cap vs Safety Helmet vs Hard Hat

    Some major industries where head protection may be required include construction, building repair, work in excavations or tunnels, work at heights and work with bolt driving tools. There are three widely used types of head protection. 

  • Industrial scalp protectors (bump caps)
  • Hard Hats
  • Safety Helmets (Industrial use or at-height use)
  • Bump caps are a less invasive, lightweight cap with an inbuilt impact-resistant padded shell to protect wearers from minor head bumps and lacerations, but not from falling or flying objects. You should use safety bump caps when there is a risk of impact between the head and stationary objects such as low ceilings, the underside of a vehicle (for mechanics, especially) and overhead piping.

    Hard hats are made of rigid material such as a polymer to protect wearers from high impact bangs, knocks or hits and offer stronger head protection than a bump cap does. They’re cleverly designed to allow the force of any impact to be spread across the head without transmitting it to the wearers skull. They are used to resist penetration, falling objects and extreme heat, so commonly found on building sites.

    Safety helmets and hard hats are usually interchangeable in some countries like the UK and some European countries. Some countries, however, state the difference between them - The primary purpose of a hard hat is to protect the head from objects falling from above. Safety helmets do not only shield against falling objects, but certain models (Type II) can offer increased protection from impacts to the side and back of the head. 

    📝 Chapter 2:
    Industrial Helmets vs Work-At-Height Helmets

    Industrial helmets and work-at-height helmets are the two main types of safety helmets for head protection.

    A qualified industrial helmets are certified according to EN 397 and ideal for ground work, limiting the risk of strangulation if the helmet is snagged while a user is on the ground. Some industrial helmets also provide electric shock protection, perfect for electricians and those working near live wires.

    A qualified helmet for working at height are EN 12492 certified, also known as mountaineering helmet, requiring the chinstrap to keep a helmet on one’s head during a fall, limiting the risk of losing the helmet during a fall.

    Industrial Helmets Work-At-Height Helmets
    Use ✓Ground Work
    ✓Industrial, etc
    ✓Tower Climbing
    ✓Rope Access
    ✓High-rise Construction
    ✓Mountaineering, etc
    Standard EN 397 EN 12492
    Chinstrap 25kg>Release>15kg; to release at a fairly low load to avoid strangulation Resistance>50kg; to secure helmet on one's head during a fall
    Examples Plasma AQ, Zenith Super Plasma PL, Zenith PL

    Browse our Head Protection Brands

    KASK - Centurion - 3M - Beeswift

    📝 Chapter 3:
    Compatibility with PPE/accessories: Eye & ear protection, winter liner, chin strap

    Based on our manufacturer's research, 250 UK interviewees were asked to rank (between 1 and 10) the key factors when selecting PPE. They continue to place considerable importance on:

  • Comfort: 55% stated 9-10 in importance
  • Compatibility: 45% stated 9-10 in importance
  • Style: 19% stated 7-10 in importance
  • It is obvious that users want to feel more confident that their PPE (i.e. safety helmets, eyewear, face protection, and ear defenders) are compatible with one another to make life on the job a little easier and safer. Therefore, many manufacturers have considered head, eye and ear protection integration to offer users a convenient option, e.g. safety helmets with an eye shield, and even safety helmet kits equipped with a full face visor and ear defenders. If you like to have more flexibility, head protection products with slots for visor/earmuff attachment will be an ideal choice for optimal customization. Here are some eye & ear protection examples.