Friday, February 4, 2011

Bangin' heads in the workplace


At this time of year, football seems to dominate the the national attention as the Superbowl approaches.  Many types of sports present the performers (players) with opportunities for severe head injuries.  It seems like concussions have shown up in every corner of the football world over the past year:  on the field, on locker room posters, in Congressional hearings, in labor negotiations. There's even a blog devoted to them.  Whenever you talk about concussions, you inevitably end up talking about helmets.

Working in theatres is no different. We encounter low-lying beams, pipes, conduit, all-thread, the sharp edges and corners of stage lighting instruments, and the occassional metal flange or rebar sticking out where we least expect it. Of course, we also spend an inordinate amount of time around other people (Remember them? They are the most dangerous thing in the theatre!) that may not be watching where they are going with that oversized chunk of wood, scenery, ladder, or scaffolding.

Wearing a hard hat doesn't make you a geek. Get over the concern about making a fasion statement.  In fact, many theatres REQUIRE that they be worn.

The nature of our work in the theatre causes many of us to spend alot of time bent over working on stuff, so keeping a hard hat on your head can be a bit of a problem.  There is an easy fix for this:  Get a chin strap to keep your hard hat in-place.m  they cost very little and they can keep you from calling HEADS! from the catwalk as your hard hat plumets to the floor below.

One thing to keep in mind when purchasing a chin strap is to look at the clips that attach to the hard hat.  Some products only have a bent metal 'U', while others have a clip type attachment like show here.  These are much easier to keep in place and are highly recommended.
ANSI standard OSHA approved hard hats are fairly inexpensive (usually under $10) and the chin straps are even less.  These shoudl be fairly easy to justify for your budget, as a football helmet cost between $50 and $400.

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