The hard hats workers wear today are mainly unchanged since the 1960s. There may have been comfort upgrades but the basic safety standards are the same.
While the current hard hats do a good job, they could use some improvements. The technology available now could make them even more effective.
A serious oversight
Current hard hat technology provides protection against items falling from above the head and other direct impacts. The new idea is to make them able to protect from blows that may come from the side and cause rotational force. These impacts cause the head to turn fast, leading to rotational brain injuries.
A solution to the problem
The idea currently in the works is to make a hard hat that holds the head stationary to stop rotational injuries. The researchers working on the new design have created a sand-like reaction when the hard hat takes a glancing blow. Instead of reacting with resistance, the hat absorbs the hit. Some sports and bike helmets currently use this concept.
A potential roadblock
With new technology comes a period of adjustment and acceptance. The biggest issue is the expense of putting the new design into use as it will have an upfront increase in cost for companies. These hard hats cost quite a bit more than the ones currently in use. It is not likely that the industry will start widely using them until the price comes down.
Still, a better hard hat is something worth embracing within the construction industry. It could save many lives and prevent serious injuries.