Clear Safety Advantage Ahead
Late last year the AE Smith safety team made the decision to trial a new Australian innovation – the Clearview hard hat
We learned that workers onsite were wearing their hard hats backwards when completing work that required upwards visibility…
We saw this as an opportunity to improve safety onsite and began developing the clear hard hat straight away
“We’re always on the look out for new initiatives,” said Nick Daley, AE Smith’s National Safety Manger.
“Our team spend a lot of time working in environments where the visual impairment created by the brim on a traditional hard hat creates a hazard. The Clearview hard hat provides the opportunity to improve peripheral awareness by eliminating visual obstruction, so it made sense to trial it,” added Nick.
AE Smith workers located in Victoria and Queensland were some of the first to trial the Clearview hard hats, which were released onto the Australian market in September 2013.
An Australian innovation
The Clearview hard hat was developed by Sure Guard Safety, with the innovative design gaining an international patent in January 2014.
Wayne Kopp, designer of the Clearview hard hat and Managing Director of Sure Guard Safety said the innovation resulted from feedback from an WHS manager at one of the larger construction companies.
“We learned that workers onsite were wearing their hard hats backwards when completing work that required upwards visibility,” Kopp said.
“We saw this as an opportunity to improve safety onsite and began developing the Clearview hard hat straight away,” he added.
As well as providing greater visibility and meeting Australian UV protection standards, the hat’s polycarbonate material is actually stronger than the ABS material a traditional hard hat is produced from.
Enhanced visibility and sun protection
When the AE Smith trial of the hard hats begun, there was initially resistance from some team members.
“The traditional hard hat is pretty much an institution in construction. This new design raised a few eyebrows. There was also concern about getting sunburnt,” said Sandy Wilson, AE Smith Branch Safety Manager at Victoria Construction.
The Clearview hard hat is Standards approved to AS/NZS 1801 with the UV400 stabilised polycarbonate material providing sun protection outdoors.
“During the trial, quite a few employees who were initially resistant called me to ask for one – they could see the practical advantage onsite.”
Leadership in safety
Any change to safety procedure goes through a rigorous review process at AE Smith. The Clearview hard hat was trialled by site workers, and feedback was tabled at the monthly branch Safety Meetings.
“As a result of the positive feedback from clients and those who participated in the trial of this initiative, the Clearview hard hats are now the preferred hard hat option for AE Smith employees,” said Nick.
Approximately 85% of AE Smith Construction workers in Victoria are already wearing the Clearview hard hats, with the older style hard hat anticipated to be phased out across 2014.
“We’ve received lots of positive comments from other companies onsite. It’s great that AE Smith is helping to spread the word on a positive safety innovation,” concluded Sandy.