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Does Your Safety Helmet Fit Properly?

By: Rachel Newcombe - Updated: 16 Jul 2010 | comments*Discuss
 
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Safety helmets play a vital role in protecting the head from injury or damage and need to be worn by riders of motorcycles and bikes, as by people working in potentially dangerous conditions. But how can you tell if your safety helmet fits properly?

When you’re out on the road riding a motorbike, bike or moped, it’s essential that you wear a helmet to protect your head. It’s dangerous not to wear a helmet, as head injuries caused by road accidents are common and are a major cause of long-term disability and even death. However, since a campaign to increase the number of helmets being worn by cyclists, the number of head injury casualties has been reduced.

As they play such a vital role in the safety of riders, it’s important that you get the right fit of helmet – otherwise you may not be protected as well as you should be. In the first instance, look out for helmets that have a CE mark or British Standard Kitemark, and that conform to one of the following types of safety standard: BS EN 1078:1997, BS 6863:1989 or SNELL B.95.

To get the correct size, you may need to measure your head and find the size of your head, but if you’ve not done this, you can try on various different helmets and find the one that fits best. A good helmet should be fully adjustable, from both the inside and the outside straps. Some useful tips for getting the right fit of helmet include:

  • Making sure the helmet fits closely to your head. If you move your head around or bend over, the helmet should stay firmly in place. If it moves around or falls off, then it’s not a good fit for you.

  • When the helmet is on your head, it should sit just above the eyebrows and you should be able to see clearly out of the visor. If you can’t see out properly, the helmet isn’t level, your forehead shows and the helmet easily moves back or forward, then its not the right fit.

  • The straps on the helmet should go around the ears and be taut. If the strap is very slack and goes over your ears, then this isn’t a good fit.

Other Safety Helmets

If you’re working in an environment that could be dangerous, such as on a building site, tackling fires or supervising demolition work, then it’s also crucial that you wear a safety helmet or hat. These safety hats may differ slightly in design and style to the helmets used by bikers and cyclists, but work on the same principle of providing much needed protection to the head.

Like motorcycle helmets, there are certain standards to look out for when purchasing a safety helmet or hat and, whether you’re buying it yourself or an employer is supplying it, they should conform to these.

For industrial safety helmets, the helmet should meet the European Standard EN397. Also available are industrial bump caps, which are used in some work situations, and these should confirm to the European Standard EN812.

Again, it’s crucial that the helmet you’re wearing fits your head well, will offer protection if you’re hit by falling objects and won’t fall off when you bend or move around. Always try on several different sizes to ensure you get the helmet that’s both the most comfortable and the most supportive and, if you’re unsure, ask for advice and help.

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