Modern helmet design gives safety a new look
This month, members of the Project Management Organization (PMO) team are using their heads on a new project — literally. They are evaluating whether their team will replace traditional construction hard hats with sports-style helmets.
“It looks like a bicycle or skateboard helmet, but it is safety rated for construction,” says Terrance Day, project specialist in the PMO Construction Oversight section.
Hard hat design hasn’t changed in decades. But the new helmets are less likely to come off in a fall or high winds and are being adopted by many major construction contractors.
In fact, Karen Hellman, PMO division director, was inspired to investigate them while working with Clark Construction on the new Materials Design Laboratory (MDL). “When we hire contractors at Argonne, they learn from us and we also learn from them. These helmets have become the mandatory standard for Clark employees.”
Day is enthusiastic about the change, “I actually like it!” Adding that the padded helmet is more comfortable, better ventilated and sits higher than a traditional hard hat making “hat hair” less of a problem.
According to Hellman, there is not yet a plan to roll out the safety upgrade to all of Argonne, but the helmets are available through Argonne Material Ordering System (AMOS) if other divisions want them. “We think it’s a major improvement. They are significantly more expensive, but we’re not putting a price on safety with these. We’re trying to buy the right equipment for the safety of our staff.”
By Catherine Powless, Argonne Associate