Protecting your head and brain at work

Every year thousands of people suffer a brain injury whilst at work. These brain injuries can range from mild injuries right through to severe brain injuries where people are left in a vegative state.

Statistical data published by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has also revealed that 137 people died in the workplace during the period of 2016/2017, 20 of which were as a result of being hit by a moving/falling object.

Boyes Turner sadly have dealt with a high number of cases where people have suffered a brain injury at work, or where someone has passed away as a result of a work place accident. 

To try and help workers protect their head and brain at work we have put together the following list of helpful tips:

Hard hats

Hard hats are available for workers that have been specifically designed to protect the head from falling objects.

If your employer has provided you with a hard hat make sure you wear it at all times. Also ensure that you wear your hard hat correctly, this means:

  1. Wearing the chin strap to prevent it from falling off.
  2. Ensuring the hat is adjusted to fit the head comfortably, but firmly.
  3. Wearing it the correct way, i.e. not back to front.

Also, if your hard hat becomes damaged at all, ask your employer for a replacement, do not continue to wear a damaged hard hat as it will not offer the same protection as an un-damaged hard hat.

If your employer does not provide you with a hard hat, but you think you would benefit from one, discuss it with him/her.Your employer can then conduct a risk assessment and if necessary arrange for a hard hat to be provided to you.

And remember, hard hats are not just for construction workers, hard hats can be worn by a number of other professions such as factory workers and miners and now they are available in different styles such as baseball caps like the one pictured below.

The benefit of a baseball cap hard hat is that it may be more suitable for customer facing roles such as the front of house staff at a trade counter in a warehouse where the employee has to face customers, but also take regular trips in to the warehouse where there is a risk of falling objects.

Warning signs

If you are an employer, always post warning signs to warn employees of areas where there is a risk of being struck by falling objects.These areas of risk can easily be identified by a good risk assessment.If in doubt ask a health and safety specialist to advise your business on the risks affecting your employees.

Employers should also provide hard hats for its employees it expects to work in areas where there is a risk of falling objects and post signs reminding employees to wear there hard hats in those areas.

If you are en employee, make yourself aware of areas where falling object signs have been placed and be extra vigilant when walking through those areas, making sure you wear your hard hat all times in those areas.

Safety netting and barriers

If a risk assessment has identified an area where there is a risk of falling objects, install barriers or netting systems to catch falling objects before they land on an employee.

Whilst a hard hat will offer some protection to an employee from a falling object, a safety net or barrier will prevent the employee from being struck in the first place.

When it comes to safety nets and barriers, ensure they are suitable to catch the weight of the item(s) that could fall and that they are fitted by professionals.

Health and safety training

As an employer it is essential to provide suitable health and safety training to employees whose work may cause items to drop on to others, crane drivers for example, and to educate workers who are at risk from falling objects and how to avoid being struck by them.

Thereafter the employees should receive regular refresher training on these risks to ensure that safety is at the forefront of their mind and that they know how to prevent accidents occurring as a result of falling objects.

The employer should also police good health and safety procedures in the workplace by posting signs in the workplace reminding people of their duties and reminding people of their duties if they are caught breaching the site health and safety rules.

Sporting equipment

If you are a semi-professional or professional sportsman then your club may also provide you with essential equipment to protect you from head injuries such as a cricket helmet or a bicycle helmet.

Always ensure you wear this equipment, even during routine practice sessions to avoid the risk of injury.

Protecting yourself

Please also bear in mind there are many professions where the wearing of protective headgear is not a legal requirement and therefore an employer may not provide you with it.An example would be a bicycle courier. The wearing of cycle helmets is not a mandatory requirement and therefore your employer may not provide you with a good bicycle helmet. It is however known that thousands of cyclists suffer head injuries each year as a result of cycling accidents where a cycle helmet was not worn.

If you have a job such as this, speak to your employer to see if a cycle helmet could be provided. If the employer is unwilling to provide one then you may wish to consider investing in one yourself. Many cycle helmets can be purchased for a relatively low price now and the price will be well worth it were you to fall off of your bicycle.

The above list is just a snapshot of ways you could protect yourself from head injuries in the workplace.

If you or someone you know has suffered a head injury as a result of an accident at work please contact us by email piclaims@boyesturner.com

If someone you know has passed away as a result of a head injury please also contact us to see if a claim can be made on behalf of their estate.

The service was personal, professional and considered. I was treated so kindly and in the end I knew that not only had I found the right organisation but also the right person.

Boyes Turner client

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