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Protective Helmet

Viimati uuendatud: 25.11.2016

Protective Helmet

Helmet Wearing Obligation

Wearing a protective helmet is mandatory in areas that have a hazard of head injury emanating from the work process; for example, work in heights, on ladders and scaffolding (incl. installation and dismantling of scaffolding), work with lifting devices (e.g. crane working area), but also in mining, open diggings (incl. wells and trenches), shipbuilding, forestry, slaughterhouses, heavy industry.

Not all Helmets will do for the Listed Works

Helmets are not meant to humour nor to harass anyone. Newton’s law of gravity and other laws of physics apply to everyone and are the reason why helmet must be worn. Helmet has been designed to protect the user’s head.

The protective helmet mandatory on works with a higher level of risk must correspond to the requirements of the European Standard EN 937, which lists the properties of an industrial protective helmet. It has been designed to protect the wearer against brain damage and/or skull fracture of falling objects and, if necessary, also against electric shock.

Impact-proof hat or hard hat or shell hat nor even a bicycle helmet do not replace a protective helmet. Hard hat has been designed to protect the head against small bumps and/or bruises that could be caused by too low ceilings or hanging objects at the workplace. Hard hats are mostly used in industry. The helmet weight is usually in the range of 300-350 grams (a set meant for the forest industry that consists of the helmet, headphones, net visor and rain protection weighs around 660 grams).

The chosen helmet size should be adjustable through a ratchet as it guarantees a fast and comfortable adaption also when an undercap must be worn (e.g., the helmet is required indoors during winter, or with an undercap outside). The ratchet helps to adjust the helmet so that the helmet will stay on the head when the user needs to bow or tilt their head, or when the helmet does not have any chin straps to avoid falling off.

Special attention must be turned to helmets, the neck part of which has an UV-indicator (also known as the UV-clock), the red paint of which shall slowly dim in the UV-radiation. Until the indicator is still visibly red and the helmet has not been injured, the helmet can be used. However, the plastic should be checked to see if it has not turned fragile and does still protect the head when the hazard realizes. Even though helmets with the UV-indicator are more expensive that regular helmets, a brief calculation shows that a helmet of such type is, when stored according to the requirements, usable about 3-4 times longer than the so-called regular helmet.

Manufacturers’ user manuals for helmets with the UV-indicator generally allow to use the helmet for 3 years staring from the first use, or for 5 years starting from the manufacturing date.

The colour of the helmet is not important in Estonia. When choosing the helmet, think about the circumstances and the wearer’s work responsibilities:

  • does the helmet enable to attach headphones, forehead lamp, a different visor; a 2, 3 or 4 point chin strap, etc.;
  • does the user rather need a helmet with a shorter beak that could be worn backwards so it would not prevent the geodesist from using a level or theodolite.


  • when not being used, avoid keeping the helmet in sunlight;
  • when wearing the helmet, make sure it fits tightly and firmly;
  • it is not recommended to draw nor add stickers to the helmet as the sticker glue and marker ink could contain solvents that can influence the helmet properties;
  • when the helmet gets dirty, wash it with water and a mild soap solution, and dry;
  • when the helmet falls from high or is injured in some other way, it must be replaced with a new helmet.

If the first date of the helmet use is not known for some reason, or when the manufacturing date is illegible on the helmet beak, the protective equipment can be tested – push the helmet together from the sides by applying medium pressure, or bend the beak. If any squeaking is heard or cracks appear on the helmet, it has served its’ term and must be replaced with a new one. The same also applies when it has fallen from high, something has fallen on the head while the helmet was worn, or when the helmet has been damaged in some other way.

What is What?

The endurance of a helmet and shock-proof cap is illustrated in the table below, outlining the significant differences between the two personal protective equipment.

Shock Absorption

EN 397 - Helmet

EN 812 – Shockproof Cap

Falling height used in the test

1 metre

0.25 metres

Maximum allowed impact force residue

5 kilonewtons

15 kilonewtons

Power used at testing

49 joules

12 joules

Shape and weight of the hitting end used for testing

50 mm radius, spherical, 5 kg

100 mm radius, flat, 5kg

Penetration Resistance

Falling height used in the test

1 metre

0.5 metres

Power used at testing

29 joules

2.5 joules

Weight of the body used for the test blow

3 kg

0.5 kg

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