In Maine, a lineman was operating a digger truck, and a freak accident happened. After digging a hole, he rotated the boom around and because of obstacles, needed to put the boom nearly straight up. Suddenly, the pilot point of the auger fell and struck him on the head! Everyone involved agrees, had he not worn his hard-hat, he would have most likely been killed. After a few stitches, and some bumps and bruises, he is none for the worse. What happened? During digging, the bolt that holds the pilot point in place broke. It appears that the 38 pound unit was being held in place by mud and debris until it fell. The distance to impact was about four feet, enough to generate hundreds of pounds of force. The carbide tip actually cracked the hat (causing the cuts). However, the shock absorbing features of the hat protected his spine, and the impact resistance kept his head from being crushed. You may say he was lucky, but actually he was smart because he was wearing a hard-hat!
One of the most basic adages of construction safety is that hard hats save lives - but they only work when they're worn. This means 100% of the time - everywhere - no excuses. This adage was recently proven out by an incident on a painting project in Buffalo, New York. A worker was suiting up to begin blasting in preparation for repainting on a nearby bridge. He was not exposed to traffic and was not under an overhead hazard. Nonetheless, he was wearing his hard hat as required by the specs, and as directed by accepted safety practice and by good common sense.
Adherence to this simple rule probably saved the worker's life. Suddenly, without warning, a steel hatch blew off the top of the pressure blasting equipment which was several feet away from the worker. The 100 lb steel hatch flew several feet through the air and struck the worker squarely on the top of the head. The force of the blow knocked him to the ground, and as might be expected, he was dazed by the impact. He was transported to a nearby hospital as a precaution, but he was found to have no significant injuries, and was released without even being kept overnight. He is expected to be back on the job before the end of the week.
The lesson learned is very simple - HARD HATS SAVE LIVES! In this case, eyewitnesses emphatically report that the hard hat saved this worker from very serious and probably fatal injuries. The scars on the hard hat bear them out. However, hard hats can do their job only if they are worn all the time. Even in locations where the risk of head injuries is not apparent, unexpected incidents such as this equipment failure can occur with no warning. A hard hat laying on the front seat of a vehicle, or sitting on the ground, or even held in your hand, cannot provide any protection. Hard hats are a basic tool for the construction trade, and they must be worn all the time - everywhere - everyone! Your life depends on it!