As National Construction Safety Week kicks off, Mortenson has announced that it will transition its entire U.S. craft workforce from traditional hard hats to safety helmets starting this year, to further increase worker protection on its projects. The modern design of safety helmets, which use chin straps and offer front, side, and rear protection, are proven safer and help reduce head injuries. Mortenson will also require safety helmets for trade partner workers on its projects starting in January 2023.
Despite advances in safety programs industrywide, fatalities in construction remain approximately three times higher than the overall U.S. workplace fatality rate. Studies have found that falls and “struck by” incidents were the most common cause of injury. Construction also has the greatest number of both fatal and nonfatal traumatic brain injuries (TBI) according to the American Journal of Industrial Medicine.
“The traditional hard hats that are used in the industry are based on a 1919 design with the most recent safety improvements coming in the 1960s,” said Marni Hogen, senior director of health and safety at Mortenson. “Our obligation through our Zero Injury safety program is to ensure we are providing high-quality protection and care for our workers and all individuals on our projects. When compared to standard hard hats, the new safety helmets we are adopting provide a superior level of protection.”
Traditional hardhats currently in use have top impact testing and absent a chinstrap can get knocked off upon impact. Mortenson is transitioning to safety helmets that are tested for front, rear and side shock impact and utilize a chinstrap for retention. The helmets also provide the ability to attach additional personal protective equipment including visors for eye and face protection, hearing protection, and lights for better visibility when working.
Photo courtesy of Mortenson