Each year, thousands of construction workers suffer head injuries on the job. Some common causes of head injuries include:
- Being struck by a falling tool or material or a moving object, such as materials being moved by a crane or another worker.
- Falling and coming in contact with an object or surface, such as equipment, a wall, or the ground.
- Coming in contact with overhead hazards, such as equipment or electrical wires – the latter can result in a worker being electrocuted.
In 2018 alone, almost 8,000 construction workers suffered a head injury and 230 construction workers died from their injury. These deaths and injuries take a significant human and financial toll on the injured workers, their families, and their employers.
The following research and resources can help raise awareness of the risks and ways to prevent head injuries.
Information and Resources to Prevent Head Injuries
- Head Protection: Preventing Head Injuries (15-minute Awareness Program recording)*
- Hazard Alert: Preventing Head Injuries (English, Spanish)
- Toolbox Talk: Head Protection (English, Spanish)
- Infographic: Protect Your Head
*We want your feedback. Once you’ve viewed this awareness program, please take this 5-minute anonymous survey to help us understand what viewers take away from the presentation, the value of this approach for raising awareness of hazards and prevention methods, and how to improve this program. Please note: no personal information will be collected as part of this survey, and the results will only be used as group data. Click here to complete the survey: Preventing Head Injuries Awareness Program Feedback
Standards and Requirements
- The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) 1926 Subpart E, Personal Protective and Life Saving Equipment, Head Protection
- American National Standards Institute (ANSI) Z89.1-2009, Z89.1-2003, and Z89.1-2003
- ANSI/International Safety Equipment Association z89.1-2014
NIOSH Articles and Research
- NEW! Video: Hard Hats and Helmets: Keeping Workers Safe
- NIOSH Science Blog: Construction Helmets and Work-related Traumatic Brain Injury; Los cascos para la construcción y las lesiones cerebrales traumáticas relacionadas con el trabajo
- Evaluation of the Fall Protection of Type I Industrial Helmets, Wu JZ, Pan CS, Cobb C, Moorehead A, Kau TY, and Wimer BM, Annals of Biomedical Engineering. (2021)
- Effects of Proper Helmet Wearing on the Protection Performance for Industrial Helmets, Wu, J.Z., Pan, C.S., Cobb, C., Moorehead, A., and Wimer, B., presented in the 33rd Annual International Occupational Ergonomics and Safety Conference, September 16-17 and was published in the Proceedings, December 2021, pages 121-125. ISBN: 97819384965-9-2.
- Application of air-bubble cushioning to improve the shock absorption performance of type I industrial helmets, Wu, JZ, Pan, CS, Ronaghi, M, Wimer, B, and Reischl, U, Engineering Failure Analysis. (2021)
- An approach to characterize the impact absorption performance of construction helmets in top impact, Pan, C.S., Wimer, B., Wu, J., and Welcomes, D., ASTM Journal of Testing and Evaluation. (2021)
- Application of polyethylene air-bubble cushions to improve the shock absorption performance of type I construction helmets for repeated impacts, Wu JZ, Pan CS, Ronaghi M, Wimer BM, Reischl U, Biomed Mater Eng. 32(1): 1–14. (2021)
- Headgear systems with Air-Bubble Cushioning Liner for Improved Shock Absorption Performance, Pan, C.S., Wu, J.Z., and Reischl, U., .U.S. Patent Application No. 17/160,177. Washington, DC: U.S. Bibliographic Data – Application – Patent Center – USPTO. (2021)
- 100 Years of the Hard Hat, 100 Years of Safety, Dr. John Howard, Director, NIOSH, From the Director’s Desk, Volume 17, Number 8 (December 2019)
- Shock Absorption Performance of Construction Helmets under Repeated Top Impacts Dr. Chris Pan, NORA Construction Sector Council Meeting (November 2019)
- Shock absorption performance of construction helmets under repeated top impacts. Dr. Chris Pan, Proceedings of the XXXIst Annual International Occupational Ergonomics and Safety Conference (June 2019)
- Effects of impactor mass in top impact tests in evaluation of shock absorption performance of construction helmets: a preliminary study. Dr. Chris Pan, “Proceedings of the XXXIst Annual International Occupational Ergonomics and Safety Conference (June 2019)
- Quantification of the shock absorption performance of construction helmets in top impact. Dr. Chris Pan, Proceedings of the American Society of Biomechanics annual meeting (August 2018)
- A computational model for optimization design of construction helmet. Dr. Chris Pan, Proceedings of 5th International Conference on Computational and Mathematical Biomedical Engineering (April 2017)
- An improved finite element modeling of the cerebrospinal fluid layer in the head impact analysis. Dr. Chris Pan, Bio-Med Mater Eng, Volume 28, Number 2 (March 2017)
- Automatic detection of helmet uses for construction safety. Dr. Chris Pan, Proceedings of the 2016 IEEE/WIC/ACM International Conference on Web Intelligence Workshops (January 2017)
- Finite element simulations of the head-brain responses to the top impacts of a construction helmet: effects of the neck and body mass. Dr. Chris Pan, Proc Inst Mech Eng, Volume: 231, Number 1 (January 2017)
- An improved finite element model to simulate the brain acceleration due to a front impact. Dr. Chris Pan, Proceedings of the Sixth American Conference on Human Vibration (June 2016)
- NEW! Industrial helmet injury protection from falls – Study highlight from Liberty Mutual Insurance (2022)
- Washington State Department of Labor and Industries. Head protection [Hard Hats]: Training on The Use of Hard Hats in The Workplace (2009)
- Taking care of your Hard Hat, The Occupational Health and Safety Magazine (2001)