Supplying Headlamps as Critical PPE in Hazardous Environments

Supplying Headlamps as Critical PPE in Hazardous Environments

By supplying safe lighting products, construction companies can significantly enhance worker safety throughout the job site.

Construction companies have a duty to protect employees by providing a safe work environment and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) required for the job. However, despite various PPE options, many companies fail to supply or specify important lighting tools – namely headlamps. Unfortunately, the lack of suitable headlamps can lead to serious, even deadly accidents on construction sites.

As a tool, headlamps are essential when hands-free lighting is required in low-light areas for a wide range of tasks, such as operating and maintaining machinery or assessing its condition. Headlamps are also necessary for safe, efficient personnel movement throughout the job site, particularly in confined or restricted spaces.

However, despite meeting OSHA’s definition of PPE, “equipment worn to minimize exposure to hazards that cause serious workplace injuries and illnesses”, headlamps are often not included in company budgets for PPE. As a result, contractors may be left to purchase their own headlamps from industry supply or hardware stores. Unfortunately, if they overemphasize price and choose products that lack necessary options, the units may be unsafe to use for some tasks, settings, or conditions throughout the plant. This could open the company to potential liability.

To protect personnel in any work environment and to defend against such liability, a growing number of safety professionals are including or specifying headlamps in the company budget, as PPE.

“It is safer to provide suitable headlamps upfront rather than leaving it up to employees to make their own purchases. However, department approval of only intrinsically safe product would handle the issue. Preventing even one serious injury would pay for any implementation,” says Scott Colarusso, General Manager and Co-Owner, All Hands Fire Equipment & Training, a Neptune City, NJ supplier of fire safety equipment to various industries that has equipped and trained thousands of firefighters nationwide.

When companies supply high-quality, safe headlamps, it protects workers wherever they need to go on the job site from serious, even potentially lethal accidents. Essentially, everyone is covered, and the chance of mishap eliminated.

“Without safety certified headlamps appropriate for the application, companies are exposed to potential liability if an incident occurs. By supplying workers with headlamps that are rated for any hazardous environment [that could be encountered on the job site], companies can prevent the problem,” says Colarusso.

Mandating Greater Safety

At construction worksites, headlamps enhance personnel safety and efficiency since wherever they look the lighting goes with them, leaving their hands free. With multiple beam modes, these devices are designed to be easily operable even when workers wear heavy gloves. Typically, the units are waterproof and chemically resistant, ready for use in rugged surroundings, which may include getting thrown into a truck toolbox or dropped. Still, the devices must provide ample light for a sufficient “burn time” to last an entire work shift without a change of batteries.

Safety considerations are particularly important considering OSHA’s recently issued standard for construction work in confined spaces (Subpart AA of 29 CFR 1926). The new standard recognizes that such spaces can present physical and atmospheric hazards that can be avoided if recognized and addressed prior to entry. It is designed to eliminate potentially deadly hazards by requiring employers to determine what kinds of spaces their workers are in; what hazards could be there; and how those hazards should be made safe (including the use of headlamps, flashlights, and other lighting equipment that carry the proper safety ratings).

Therefore, in settings where the environment is inherently volatile, headlamps should carry the proper certification for various classes, divisions, and groups of materials. When a headlamp is rated for all these options, it essentially means it is certified as safe for use in most hazardous environments.

Because headlamps can be dropped or bumped on the job site, it is also important that the equipment is designed to reliably withstand rough handling. In response, some manufacturers now make headlamps with durable thermoplastic material designed to withstand drops and rough handling including being thrown into a truck bed. The units not only provide up to 10 hours of light without a battery change but also have superior resistance to common, potentially dangerous, industrial chemicals and solvents.

The latest models also offer anti-static properties and safety features, such as a mechanical locking mechanism that requires a tool to open the battery compartment. This prevents users from inadvertently opening the battery housing in a hazardous environment, which could not only result in electric shock, but also potentially ignition or explosion.

While the construction industry carries some inherent risk, companies seeking to improve safety can do so by providing contractors with ultra-safe headlamps that ensure compliance. So, as the need for safety only grows along with stricter regulation, companies will increasingly make headlamps a mandatory part of any PPE budget or safety program to minimize operational risk and liability.

Download Center

  • Industrial Premium Library

    Empower your workforce with the manufacturing, industrial maintenance, operations, HSE, compliance, and professional development skills they need to complete their tasks efficiently and safely. Not only will you boost productivity, reliability, skills, and morale but you’ll also onboard faster, and retain your best employees while meeting regulatory standards. Vector Solutions offers over 1,800 award-winning eLearning courses designed to keep your employees safe, transfer knowledge of fundamentals, and develop industry and job-specific skills that reduce downtime, maintenance costs and more.

  • Safety Metrics & Insights Webinar

    EHS professionals have been tackling the subject of how to best measure performance for many years. Lagging indicators like the Total Recordable Incident Rate (TRIR) and Days Away Restricted Transfer Rate (DART) are a good place to start, but you shouldn’t forget about the leading indicators that your workforce does every day to prevent incidents from occurring. Learn about some of the most common KPIs of safety programs and how Vector EHS Management software can be used to track these metrics in this webinar.

  • Risk Matrix Guide

    Understanding the components of a risk matrix will allow you and your organization to manage risk effectively. Download this guide for details on risk matrix calculations including severity, probability, and risk assessment.

  • OSHA Recordkeeping Guide

    In case you missed it, OSHA recently initiated an enforcement program to identify employers who fail to electronically submit Form 300A recordkeeping data to the agency. When it comes to OSHA recordkeeping, there are always questions regarding the requirements and ins and outs. This guide is here to help! We’ll explain reporting, recording, and online reporting requirements in detail.

  • Safety Metrics Guide

    Is your company leveraging its safety data and analytics to maintain a safe workplace? With so much data available, where do you start? This downloadable guide will give you insight on helpful key performance indicators (KPIs) you should track for your safety program

  • Vector Solutions

Featured Whitepaper

OH&S Digital Edition

  • OHS Magazine Digital Edition - September 2022

    September 2022

    Featuring:

    • ESG
      EHS Will Guide Future ESG Success for Many Organizations
    • MACHINE GUARDING
      Handling Material Handlers: Training Beyond PIT Requirements
    • EHS SOFTWARE
      The Missing Link with EHS Software
    • HEARING PROTECTION
      Noise Surveys from the Trenches
    View This Issue