The Column - Safety
The Hard Hat Challenge

The Hard Hat Challenge

Or How We're Staying Ahead of the Curve in PPE

As hard hats in the construction industry continue their evolution to be safer, Menard is staying ahead of the game by recently testing new KASK helmets on our job sites and in the shop.

Did you know the first laborers required to wear hard hats were construction workers on the Golden Gate Bridge in 1933? These hats weren't actually very "hard" and were created with just steamed canvas, glue and black paint. A few years later the main component was aluminum, then fiberglass and eventually thermoplastics. 

Today's most popular model is made from high-density polythylene material, and includes a 1 to 1-1/4 inch space between the inner shell and head to act as a shock absorber in case of impact.

Current Hard Hat
KASK Trial Hard Helmet

The new KASK helmets provide additional protection from impacts to the side, front and back of the head, are more breathable and weigh in much lighter compared to our current hats. Many European construction companies have already moved to this style of hard hat, and our Safety Department thinks it's only a matter of time before US companies do the same.

We want everyone to be open-minded about exploring new options for personal protection. Helmets are the future of construction, and Menard wants to keep their tradition of always being ahead of the curve.
Dan Langer, Safety Engineer

The only negatives MeNERDs have reported are the lack of brim (which means more sunburned faces) and the unusual color of the first version we tested (think wild green); however, new versions in more traditional white and red have alleviated the fashion problem and the brimmed versions are on their way!

Our hard hat/helmet trial is expected to last through this year, but here's some initial feedback:

"The KASKs are lighter and more comfortable. A brim and some other accessories would be helpful."

-Shane, Shop Operations

"It was love at first sight for me when I saw the KASK helmet with the visor attached! Cutting wick is a very active and repetitive job, and some of the issues I encountered with the old hard hats were:
-Heat getting trapped under my hard hat causing my eye protection to fog up- even with fog-proof lenses- and to repeatedly adjust to let cool air in & heat out. 
-Because my head is up and down a lot throughout the day, the weight & movement of the hat can get uncomfortable. 
-Sand blowing, mud flying and water splashing somehow all gets behind my shades, even with a fitted strap on them! 
-Last but not least, when I’m laying out strip drain, I need my chin strap to keep my hard hat on- but the strap has to be uncomfortably tight to keep it on top of my head.
I believe in the right tool for the right job! I need a hard hat that can adjust with me. The KASK helmet is lighter, more breathable and much more comfortable!

-Michael, Field Operations

I like it because it is comfortable, and the chin strap doesn't choke you out!

-Stan, Field Operations

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