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Head injuries

The head is our most important part of the body. Most of us are aware of this, yet the industrial and construction sectors are still affected by accidents involving injury to the head every year. The accidents cause everything from pain and discomfort to, in the worst case, never coming home from work again. A helmet or bump cap on the head is a convenient way to protect yourself, but the measures to avoid head injuries start before you even put the helmet on.

Active protection against head injuries

The following provide a good foundation for protecting against head injuries:

Identify the hazards
Analyze the risks at the workplace before choosing head protection. The type of work and the individual conditions determine which head protection should be used.

Tell what and why
As an employer, you must provide information about the risks that the personal equipment protects against.

Replace in time
The safety equipment must be in good condition. A helmet has a certain lifespan, which can change due to external conditions such as climate, UV radiation and damage to the helmet. Always replace a safety helmet that is damaged.

What are head injuries?

Head injuries are caused by some kind of blow to the head or trapping of the head. 

What are the risks of head injuries?

Mild injuries may cause headache, nausea, vomiting, dizziness and drowsiness. A person who has suffered a head injury may momentarily lose consciousness or briefly lose their memory of the event. The person’s perception of time and space may be affected.

Serious head injuries can be fatal.

Commonly exposed industries

The industry and construction sectors are commonly exposed industries, but the risk of head injuries exists more or less in all industries.

How to protect yourself against head injuries

Choose the right protective equipment. The most common types of head protection are safety helmets and bump caps. A bump cap is used where there is a risk of the working hitting their head on hard objects, on sharp edges or protruding objects, for example when in enclosed spaces. Do not use bump caps when protection against falling objects is needed, for example on construction sites.

Before choosing head protection, it is important to find out what risks you want to protect against. The most effective way of doing this is through a risk analysis. The protection that should then be used depends on the type of work and the individual conditions of the worker.


  • When working in hot temperatures, make sure that the helmet is sufficiently ventilated.
  • When working in cold temperatures and drafty environments, you should choose a helmet with space for a hood.
  • If the helmet obscures visibility, choose a helmet without a visor.

Safety Helmets

  • Helmets primarily protect against falling objects, but can also protect against crushing injuries, electrical voltage and splashes of molten metal.
  • What the helmet protects against must be stated in the manufacturer’s instructions for use, which must be available in Swedish.
  • The helmet should be fitted with a chin strap.
  • The helmet is mainly used in workplaces where there is a risk of injury from falling objects, blows to the head, bad weather or electric shocks.
  • Inside the helmet is a suspension that distributes the weight of the helmet over the head. It also provides a space of about 30 mm between the helmet and the head to mitigate the risk of injury if an object hits the helmet.
  • For a safety helmet, the standard contains no general information about when a helmet should be replaced. This is because helmets are used and stored in different environments. This time may be reduced if the helmet is exposed to factors such as chemicals or prolonged sunlight.
  • It is also difficult to give a general answer about the service life of a helmet when it comes to UV radiation, as the amount of radiation is determined by how much time you spend outdoors and how strong the radiation is.


Remember to check the head protection before using it so that there are no visible changes indicating a reduced protective performance, such as cracks, discoloration and crazing.

The service life of the helmet varies between manufacturers, but is approximately 3–5 years. Head protection normally has a service life of 5 years, but always read the supplier’s instructions for use.

The head protection must always be discarded if it has received an impact or is damaged.

What does the law say?

According to the Swedish Work Environment Authority’s AFS 2001:3, before personal protective equipment is selected, the employer must analyze and assess the risks at the workplace. Based on this analysis, the correct personal protective equipment must be available. The employer must then inform employees of the risks that the personal equipment protects against.

Other risk areas

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