Safety Helmets: A Buyer's Guide

The head is the most important part of the human body and, unfortunately, the most vulnerable in construction work, where there is a risk of falls, structural collapses, and similar accidents. Safety helmets must ensure safety, quality of materials, and more.

We want to introduce you to a range of safety helmets for construction and industry that prioritize safety standards while also considering design, comfort, and innovative styles.

Guide Index:

Safety Helmets Buying Guide - How to Choose

Key Features of a Safety Helmet

The safety helmet, or hard hat, besides being sturdy to absorb impacts and other mechanical actions, should also be lightweight, well-ventilated, adjustable, non-irritating, and equipped with a chin strap to ensure stability during dynamic work activities. The helmet should consist of a shell, an edging, and a front sweatband. The edging should allow for width adjustment.

The use of the safety helmet must be compatible with the use of other personal protective equipment, if required. Some helmets are designed to allow the installation of visors or noise-cancelling earmuffs.

The helmet must bear the "CE" marking, which certifies that it meets the appropriate protection requirements against risks, in accordance with the relevant harmonized standards.

Safety helmets are necessary in all works where there is a risk of materials falling from above, such as:

  • Construction work, especially when working on, under, or near scaffolding and elevated workplaces, as well as assembling and dismantling structures, scaffolding, and demolition operations;
  • Work on steel, prefabricated, and/or industrialized structures;
  • Work in ditches, trenches, wells, and tunnels;
  • Earth and rock works, mining, and earthmoving operations;
  • Work in elevators, hoists, lifting devices, cranes, and conveyor belts;

Choosing the Right Safety Helmet and Why

To answer these questions, it is necessary to understand the real purpose of each safety helmet.

We always refer to UNI standards:
Legislative Decree 81/2008 establishes which activities are subject to mandatory use of personal protective equipment (PPE). For example, in sports activities, there are no obligations for PPE, and individuals are free to take risks. However, in work-related activities, regulations apply depending on the job, and each one requires the use of specific protective devices.
For instance, for masons, who need to use a certified helmet equipped with accessories to prevent the helmet from falling during work, they must use a device that complies with the UNI EN 397 standard and is equipped with a chin strap.

For specific industrial works, on the other hand, certified helmets UNI EN 14052 with high-performance characteristics are required, including special resistance of the chin strap retention. However, this feature could be dangerous for those working on scaffolding, as it is preferable for the helmet to detach rather than risk choking due to a sudden jerk against the scaffolding boards, so different helmets will be necessary.

For firefighters, it will be necessary to follow the UNI EN 443 standard, while for working at heights, one can opt for UNI EN 397 with a chin strap, or for those dedicated to mountaineering, the choice can be UNI EN 12492.

This is to say that head protection helmets are affordable and practical products that should be chosen based on their intended use with attention and care. The protective helmet serves to protect against high-speed falling objects impact. Additionally, each helmet corresponds to different colors and designs that allow for quick identification of various roles and tasks.

Different Standards for Different Areas

Below is a table containing all the UNI standards:

  • UNI 9484: Headgear against scalp injuries
  • UNI 11114: Protective helmets
  • UNI 7154-1: Industrial safety helmets. Classification, requirements, and testing
  • UNI 7154-2: Industrial safety helmets. Electrical insulation helmets.
  • UNI 7154-3: Industrial safety helmets. Flame-resistant helmets.
  • UNI 7154-4: Industrial safety helmets. Helmets with high lateral rigidity.
  • UNI EN 146: Respiratory protective devices. Filter self-rescuer for escape from fire. Requirements, testing, and marking.
  • UNI EN 397: Industrial safety helmets
  • UNI EN 443: Helmets for firefighters
  • UNI EN 812: Bump caps for industrial use
  • UNI EN 960: Headforms for use in the testing of protective helmets
  • UNI EN 966: Helmets for airborne sports
  • UNI EN 1080: Protective helmets for children for all types of activities
  • UNI EN 1384: Helmets for equestrian activities
  • UNI EN 1385: Helmets for canoeing and white-water sports
  • UNI EN 11114: Personal protective equipment - Protective helmets - Guide to selection
  • UNI EN 12492: Mountaineering equipment - Helmets for mountaineers - Safety requirements and test methods
  • UNI EN 13087-1: Headforms for use in the testing of protective helmets - Terms and conditions
  • UNI EN 13087-2: Headforms for use in the testing of protective helmets - Impact absorption test
  • UNI EN 13087-3: Headforms for use in the testing of protective helmets - Penetration test
  • UNI EN 13087-4: Headforms for use in the testing of protective helmets - Retention system effectiveness test
  • UNI EN 13087-5: Headforms for use in the testing of protective helmets - Retention system strength test
  • UNI EN 13087-6: Headforms for use in the testing of protective helmets - Field of vision test
  • UNI EN 13087-7: Headforms for use in the testing of protective helmets - Flame resistance test
  • UNI EN 13087-8: Headforms for use in the testing of protective helmets - Electrical properties
  • UNI EN 13087-10: Headforms for use in the testing of protective helmets - Radiant heat test
  • UNI EN 14052: High-performance industrial helmets
  • UNI EN 14458: Personal eye protection - Screens and goggles for firefighters and high-performance industrial safety helmets used by firefighters and ambulance and emergency services
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