The hard hat has become an ever-present safety accessory on building sites all over the world. Opinions vary as to when and where they were first used. Many believe the first wide scale use was in America on the massive construction projects of the 1930’s, including the Golden gate Bridge in California and the Hoover Dam.
There is even a school of thought that credits legendary Czech author Franz Kafka with the development of the civilian hard hat while working at the Worker’s Accident Insurance Institute for the Kingdom of Bohemia in 1912, although this is not verified.
However they came about, the hard hat has been responsible for saving countless thousands of lives over the years. It is now a legal requirement on sites in the UK, with its tough fiberglass or rigid plastic design keeping heads safe across the country.
What you might not know, however, is that different color hats signify different things on site, letting workers know who is who and carrying out what role. Although this color coding system differs from country to country and even within individual organizations, there are a few basic rules that can help you to identify workers from the color of their hats.
White Hard Hat
Site managers, foremen, engineers or supervisors usually wear white hats on site.
Yellow Hard Hat
Yellow is the colour for general labourers and earth moving operators.
Blue Hard Hat
Carpenters and other technical operators including electricians will normally wear blue hard hats,
Green Hard Hat
Green often signifies a safety inspector but can also be used by new workers on the site or probationary staff.
Orange Hard Hat
Lifting operatives, Banks-man slingers / signalers or traffic marshals but mainly lifting operatives wear orange hard hats so the crane operator can pick them out from other operatives.
Red Hard Hat
Fire Marshal’s usually wear red hard hats complete with sticker (“Fire Marshal”).
Brown Hard Hat
Brown hats are worn by welders and other workers with high heat applications.
Grey Hard Hat
Grey is the color often worn by site visitors. And if employees forget their hats or misplace them, there is often a nice bright pink helmet on site they have to wear in the meantime.
Purpose of the Helmet Color Code
Apart from safety, there are other reasons too. If safety is the only thing, then all of us can wear the same color of a hard hat while working.
The reasons for different color codes are,
- To identify a person and his responsibility
Situation 1 – Assume, you have faced some electrical issue on the first floor and like to inform the responsible person to shut down the power on that floor. If you can easily identify the person from far among a crowd, you can easily instruct him to shut down the power supply by action. It also avoids unnecessary delay in emergency situation
- To avoid any accidents
Situation 2 – Assume, you are going to operate some heavy machine, for safety purpose you have to call out all the manpower out of that field. If you can spot any type of hard hats under your work swing, you could instruct them to go away and can avoid accidents.
- It protects the impact from falling objects.
- It protects the penetration of any dangerous objects at a workplace. (rods, bricks etc.)
Standard of a Safety Hard Hat
A firm hard hat should be,
- Shock Absorption Resistance
- Penetration Resistance
- Flammability Resistance
- Water Absorption
- Heat Resistance
- Electrical Resistance
Now coming to our main topic, below is the list of color hard hats used in construction