/ Hats under helmets?

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briggers - on 10 Oct 2017
Hi all,

I'm seeking an informed answer to whether it's okay to wear a hat (sun or winter) under a climbing helmet. I see quite a lot of climbers, guides, instructors wearing a hat underneath and it makes complete sense to protect yourself from the elements. My query is were you to be in an accident would the manufacturer support the use of a hat (or a hood I suppose) between the helmet and your head?

One of the reasons I ask is also because I believe it would have crossover to people who wear headscarves/hijab/turban also.

If there is someone out there who works for a manufacturer or is a tech advisor and can share your thoughts that would be grand.

Holly
Gustavo - on 10 Oct 2017
In reply to briggers:

The health & safety muppets on construction sites always try to enforce the rule of no hats under helmets, typically spouting incidents where helmets haven't worked properly as the victim was wearing a woolen hat under the helmet. I've never heard of anybody having a head injury as a result of wearing a hat under a helmet. I've scoured the HSE case studies and also found nothing.

If the fit was so crucial that a thin cap/hat made a difference, then people would have to be individually fitted for their helmet (a bit like a face fit for a gas mask) depending on how long their hair was.
Andrew Wilson - on 10 Oct 2017
In reply to

I'm not sure why you need the support of the manufacturer for this?

If it is personal use then it is up to you. You make your own decision, and decide if your helmet fits ok with something under it.

At work it is different, the HSE don't permit the wearing of any headgear under hard hats other than proprietary hat liners.
Sikhs have an exemption from wearing hard hats if wearing a turban, which is a personal choice.

Construction hard hats don't generally have chin straps so are not designed to be sat on top of a baseball hat or wooly hat.

Construction Health and Safety Muppet.
le_quack - on 10 Oct 2017
In reply to briggers:

Hi

I'm not sure what you mean by "My query is were you to be in an accident would the manufacturer support the use of a hat". Are you asking from an insurance point of view, a litigation point of view or just a recommended best practice point of view?

If the latter I would just message a manufacturer most get back to you pretty quick (dmm and petzl always seem to get back pretty quick)

Wearing a hat does bring some slight disadvantages as the helmet tends to sit higher if wearing a thick hat so there more chance of a side or oddly angled impact slipping under the helmet .

That said I often wear a hat under mine
Mr Lopez - on 10 Oct 2017
In reply to Andrew Wilson:

> the HSE don't permit the wearing of any headgear under hard hats other than proprietary hat liners.

Have you got a linh to the HSE saying that?
briggers - on 10 Oct 2017
In reply to Andrew Wilson:

Hi Andrew,

I'm well aware that it is up to me if it's personal use, this would be for in terms of work/U18/litigation etc.

Thanks
summo on 10 Oct 2017
In reply to briggers:

> Hi Andrew,

> I'm well aware that it is up to me if it's personal use, this would be for in terms of work/U18/litigation etc.

In the hills you wear a hat under your helmet to keep warm. It.is in effect better management of people you are responsible for, not worse. That said it has be an appropriate hat, I would say no bobbles, thick seams, metal or plastic badges etc.. So all it does in effect is add to the thickness of the padding equally. The helmet should still fit snug and secure.

It is hard to justify the wearing of head gear for religious or cultural reasons, compared to keeping warm in winter.

briggers - on 10 Oct 2017
In reply to le_quack:

Thanks for your reply. The support would be in the case of all three - litigation, insurance or best practice. I am mostly asking from the point of view of an instructor/employer.

However, if i was to wear a hat when climbing personally and had an accident and attempted to claim on insurance would that manufacturer support that claim or make my claim invalid due to wearing a hat (or anything else) under my helmet.

I am playing a little bit of devils advocate here - hoping to come up with some arguments for both sides - I think I will contact DMM/Petzl/Black Diamond too, thanks for the advice.
summo on 10 Oct 2017
In reply to briggers:

I think in court the wearing of something that is essential to keep warm, would be viewed differently to none essential head wear that may not fit evenly over the head. I've never heard of any such case or incident, but then again the only cultural head dress I've seen in winter under a helmet was one of those ginger Scottish wigs the tat shops sell.
nniff - on 10 Oct 2017
In reply to briggers:

This strikes me as the sort of question that one should not ask because you really don't want a formal answer. You might get lucky and receive a common sense answer, but there's a risk that you won't and wouldn't that be awkward.


However, I did recently see a rastaman working on a road (not in the UK) with his dreadlocks piled high in a hat about 18 inches high. On top of that was a construction hard hat. Can't be too careful.....
nufkin - on 10 Oct 2017
In reply to briggers:

> However, if i was to wear a hat when climbing personally and had an accident and attempted to claim on insurance would that manufacturer support that claim or make my claim invalid due to wearing a hat (or anything else) under my helmet.

Do you mean that you might be trying to recoup the cost of a helmet on insurance after an accident? I can't imagine the manufacturer would have any interest in trying to undermine your case - though I suppose an insurance company might try to establish if it was being 'misused' to avoid payout. I don't recall ever reading warnings against wearing hats under helmets in the literature that's been supplied with ones I've bought, and I'm pretty sure you could find brand adverts for, say, Petzl stuff where their alpinists are wearing hats under their helmets. Though maybe that wouldn't count as legal justification
AlanLittle - on 10 Oct 2017
In reply to nniff:

There was a famous Austrian hardman whose signature climbing headgear was a top hat - supposedly filled with foam.
le_quack - on 10 Oct 2017
In reply to briggers:

Actually The BMC and/or the MCoS might be a good bet too if your looking for an insurance based answer. There's a decent chance they'll know of any known cases insurance not paying out due to hat under helmets or similar.
slab_happy on 10 Oct 2017
In reply to briggers:

> One of the reasons I ask is also because I believe it would have crossover to people who wear headscarves/hijab/turban also.

There's quite a substantial difference between those things. You're not going to be able to fit a standard climbing helmet over a turban, but a hijab is a thin scarf.

The North Face, Black Diamond and other companies sell balaclavas that are marketed specifically as suitable for "under helmet" use. If they don't get in the way, then a hijab's not going to either.
Andrew Holden on 10 Oct 2017
In reply to briggers:

I own a solomon ski helmet with a sticker inside that says “beanie compatible” if that helps.
Big Lee - on 10 Oct 2017
In reply to AlanLittle:

I wonder whether a helmet should have be worn under or over this sort of headwear.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:ThereseBertheau.jpg
Kemics - on 10 Oct 2017
In reply to briggers:

The manufactures would be in a weird spot too because in a lot of their promotional material their models/sponsored athletes are wearing hats under their helmets. I’m thinking specifically Scottish/winter climbing where most people are wearing a thin beanie
conrad_o - on 10 Oct 2017
In reply to briggers:

Standard Australian solution, seen it used on climbing helmets too.

https://www.totallyworkwear.com.au/safety/hard-hats/pro-choice-hhb-detachable-hard-hat-brim-bottle-g...
Mal Grey - on 10 Oct 2017
In reply to briggers:

The actual situation is surely just based on an assessment of whether the helmet still fits properly over the hat. So an adjustable helmet with a thin beanie under it should still easily sit properly on the head, and come down far enough to offer the same protection as without the beanie. One with a big bobble or really thick bands of fabric might not work or sit too high. A sensible risk "assessment" situation, with a check to make sure all helmets are sitting correctly.

The legal position in the event of the worst happening may, unfortunately, depend on who then assessed your assessment and what their own opinion was.

Andrew Wilson - on 10 Oct 2017
In reply to Mr Lopez:
> Have you got a linh to the HSE saying that?

No. just speaking from experience. Feel free to look though, it may well be out there. I suppose I am paraphrasing slightly.

In construction (i.e. At work) if you are permitted to wear, for example, a woolly hat under your hard hat and it then falls off and you bang your head your employer would be found liable if you felt you needed to claim against their insurance for this.

A company where I have worked had had a couple of claims against them for such incidents and subsequently banned the wearing of any headgear or hoods other than proprietary "thermal liners".

There is a distinction to be made between this and the climbing scenario in that the issue described above is that of the hat toppling off due to not sitting firmly on the head as it is designed to do. Climbing helmets have a chin strap so this would not be a concern.

To the OP, I still don't see how your helmet manufacturer would be involved in an insurance claim? Would you want to claim against them if you got hurt? Or are you worried about invalidating your own personal injury insurance?

CSM

Mr Lopez - on 10 Oct 2017
In reply to Andrew Wilson:

> No. just speaking from experience. Feel free to look though, it may well be out there. I suppose I am paraphrasing slightly.

No, it isn't out there.

In fact the only relevant mention on the matter from HSE is that helmets "should fit the person wearing it and be worn properly", and that it "can it be adjusted to fit the wearer correctly"

In their published guidelines they state:

"A properly fitting safety helmet should have the right shell
size for the wearer and an easily adjustable headband,
nape and chin strap. The range of size adjustments
should be large enough to accommodate thermal liners
used in cold weather.
"

Nothing about not wearing a hat provided the helmet adjustments are large enough to accomodate it underneath.

If you have concerns about the helmet falling off the employee's head's, then the guidance says "use an adjustable chinstrap, if fitted, to make sure the helmet does not fall off". Since it's the employers responsibility to provide suitable head protection, then if you deem the helmet coming off as a risk you should provide a suitable helmet with chin straps. If you have had claims that went through from people whose helmet fell off and then banged the head, the same claim would go through hatless on the grounds 'the helmet didn't fit my big head/small head/pointy head/squat head/baldness/mullet/tupee/hair style/whatever properly'.

The only way you can save your arse from that to legally comply with the 2002 PPE regulations which states that:

"1.3.1 PPE must be so designed and manufactured as to facilitate correct positioning on the user and to remain in place for the foreseeable period of use, bearing in mind ambient factors, movements to be made and postures to be adopted. For this purpose, it must be possible to optimise PPE adaptation to user morphology by all appropriate means, such as adequate adjustment and attachment systems or the provision of an adequate size range. "

they also say that

"Chin straps should be provided and used if
a job involves work in windy conditions, especially at
height, or repeated bending or constantly looking upwards"

and that it "should fit the person wearing it and be worn properly", is as noted by Gustavo above by providing head fittings of helmets to each individual or providing chin straps. Anything else is rules for the sake of rules.

Your role is to ensure PPE is adequate. Putting a hat ban in place does not ensure PPE is adequate, and it disallows the use of perfectly adequate PPE, which is something that may make some people sitting in an office feel they earned their wage while making the lifes of the workers on the ground more miserable when having to work in the cold and rain in the winter without some very basic cold weather protection.

It's simplistic hard and fast rules which are justified by several reasons that never really cut it. The helmet may fall off? Provide helmets with chin straps. The helmet don't sit properly in the head? Provide larger sizes and/or helmets with a wider size range. "I can't tell if you are listening to music through headphones with a hat on (Yes, i was given that as a reason)", Well, cry me a river. Even sometimes the claim that "HSE don't permit the use of hats under the helmets"...

To the OP. So far as you ensure the helmets get adjusted and fitted properly following the manufacturer's instructions your arse is covered. So snug, centered and level as in the drawings on the instructions that come with the helmet.

Serving Member of the People's Construction Health and Safety Muppets Resistance Army
Post edited at 23:20
estivoautumnal - on 10 Oct 2017
In reply to briggers:

What? Something like this?

http://thumbsnap.com/sc/JgUkMhUs.jpg
Francescaparratt - on 11 Oct 2017
I always wear a baseball cap under my helmet when climbing outdoors. The number of times it’s stopped me from breaking my nose on the rock is phenomenal!
krikoman - on 11 Oct 2017
In reply to Andrew Holden:

> I own a solomon ski helmet with a sticker inside that says “beanie compatible” if that helps.

That only means you can eat beans out of it.

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