Protective headgear is used in all sorts of industrial spaces and applications to prevent workplace accidents and as Personal Protection Equipment, or PPEs. They must comply with strict performance requirements laid down in EEC Directive 89/686/EEC before they can be offered for sale.
The manufacturer must submit an example for EC testing before its performance rating can be displayed on a label affixed to the helmet. The helmet must pass minimum mechanical, electrical and thermal performance standards and a notifying body such as AITEX will issue a certificate showing that the PPE has passed all the requirements contained within the Directive.
Protective helmets for industrial use are considered to be PPEs and must be evaluated against a range of hazards which the wearer may be subjected to during use, and each of the tests is covered by a different homologated testing procedure and standard.
A helmet is designed to protect the wearer’s head against hazards and the depending on the type of protection required, different standards apply. An operator in their place of work may be exposed to several risks: from a head injury from a foreign object to an injury resulting from use of the PPE itself. Helmets protect the wearer from falling objects, flying objects or hanging loads which may cause a head injury and they are regulated under EN 397:2012+A1:2012; helmets which protect the wearer from head injuries sustained from an impact with solid fixed objects are covered by EN 812:2012; high-performance helmets designed to protect against falling objects, falls from a high place, brain injury, cranial fractures and neck injuries arising from them are covered by EN 14052:2012+A1:2012.
New AITEX facilities to evaluate PPE requirements
The Institute has recently added new facilities to provide evaluation and performance ratings for obligatory and optional requirements declared in the respective standards which apply to protective helmets.
Among the statutory requirements are those relating to physical standards to guarantee optimum ergonomics and mechanical requirements relating to the helmet’s protective performance. There are three main tests which test the performance of the helmet against the risks described previously.
The first is the impact absorbance test, which evaluates the helmet’s ability to protect by dispersing the energy of an impact depending on the type of helmet and degree of protection required.
The test to determine penetration by a sharp object will measure the helmet’s ability to protect the wearer against this type of risk and finally, the chinstrap performance test, evaluates how firmly the helmet sits on the wearer.
The first two tests, impact absorbance and penetration, are performed after several conditioning procedures have been completed to simulate the deterioration suffered over time, high temperature (4 h-24 h at +50º C), low temperature (4 h-24 h at -10 ºC), immersion in water (4 h-24 h), artificial UV ageing (400 h) and mechanical action (a sequence of tests); to guarantee the performance of the helmet throughout its lifetime.
Optional requirements depend on additional protection that the manufacturer wishes to declare: impact absorption at very high (1 h at +150 ºC) and very low temperature (4h – 24 h at -20/-30/-40 ºC), extremely high impact resistance at very high (1 h at +150 ºC) and very low temperatures (4 h to 24 h at -20/-30/-40 ºC), electrical insulation performance (440 ac), lateral deformity performance and resistance to molten metal splashing.
Statutory information for an article which is on sale
AITEX provides a wide-ranging service covering the evaluation of PPEs as well as all the statutory information which must appear on a label when the article is offered for sale: this includes marks, the information leaflet and labels. Our new facility places AITEX at the forefront of public headgear-testing laboratories.
The mark is the first visible information available to the user and is designed to display the degree of protection offered by the PPE. It may be moulded into or printed onto the helmet and must show the Standard which the helmet conforms to, the manufacturer and the year of manufacture, the model number, size, composition and the KS symbol if the helmet is equipped with a chinstrap (only for helmets covered by EN 14052:2012+A1:2012).
The helmet must be accompanied by a manufacturer’s information leaflet in the language where the article is sold which must be legible and easily-understood and include the following information: A description of the risks that the helmet protects against, the model designation, the harmonised European law it complies with, size, material of manufacture, etc.
Protective headgear must also be accompanied by a permanent label showing the following advice: the correct mode of use, protection provided, replacement of equipment when it has suffered a severe impact, the risks posed by modifying or removing components or the application of accessories which are not recommended by the manufacturer and the use of paints or solvents which may affect performance, unless recommended in the instructions. Helmets covered by EN 812:2012 also include a warning that they do not comply with EN 397:2012+A1:2012, but offer less protection while helmets covered by EN 14052:2012+A1:2012, in addition to the above also include a warning that use of the helmet does not always prevent death or long-term invalidity, as well as being required to include a chinstrap if indicated on the KS.
AITEX was recently audited and was granted the status of accredited testing laboratory and Notifying Body and can now provide its services to any manufacturer wishing to sell their products under the various harmonised standards.
- More information: http://www.aitex.es/head-protection/?lang=en