It’s safe to say that the head is a very important part of your body, after all it does contain the brain. Therefore it is vital that we protect it when we need to, this is why we wear helmets. However, when you look for a helmet you can be bamboozled by the sheer variety available! Why are there so many? What protection do they offer? What are the differences? Well, these are some questions that I hope this blog can help with. Now it is important to remember that a helmet is designed to offer protection against injury while doing the relevant activity, but it can’t guarantee 100% protection.
The helmet that you choose ultimately depends on the activity that you will be undertaking while you wear it. For example, wearing a motorcycle helmet on a construction site isn’t a very good idea. Similarly wearing an industrial safety helmet while riding a horse is the same. The reason being that the different types of helmets offer different levels of protection and protect your head from different kinds of impacts. Below are some examples of scenarios where you may use a safety helmet, as well as the safety standard you should look out for:
Helmets for Industrial use (building sites, factories, etc).
For a helmet to use in general work areas such as a construction site or in an industrial factory then you should wear a safety helmet that has been tested and CE marked to EN 397:2012 + A1:2012. Helmets that have been tested and certified to this standard offer protection against objects like bricks and hammers falling onto your head from a height. The standard tests shock absorption (how much impact energy is absorbed by the helmet) and penetration resistance, as well as harness retention and, chinstrap properties if one is fitted. It is also designed to protect your head in case you bump it into a wall or door. This standard also has optional testing where a helmet can be worn in hot or cold environments, as well as offer protection against some electrical hazards. The helmets can also be tested to EN 50365:2002, which is for protection against electrical hazards.
Helmets for Mountaineers.
These helmets, like the industrial use ones, are designed to protect the wearer from objects falling onto the users hear. They should be tested and CE marked to EN 12492:2012. This standard differs slightly as the helmets are tested for shock absorption on the front, side and rear of the helmet and at an angle. The helmet is also tested for penetration resistance. A chinstrap is compulsory for mountaineering helmets.
Helmets for Equestrian Activities.
Helmets for normal equestrian use can be tested and certified to PAS 015:2011 or VG1 01.040 2014-12. These helmet standards are designed to offer head protection for a user falling from a height onto an object, thus the method of test is different to the helmets mentioned above. The difference between the 2 standards is that PAS 015:2011 has more stringent requirements. Please note that some organizations/events in the UK state that a helmet must carry the BSI Kitemark™ as well as the CE mark.
Helmets for Cyclists.
Helmets for cyclists are tested and CE marked to EN 1078:1997. Like the equestrian activity helmets these are tested to represent the user falling onto an object, but to a much lower level then the Equestrian ones.
Helmets for Motorcycles are covered by Regulation ECE 22-05. These helmets are designed to protect a user from falling from a motorcycle and hitting the ground at speed.