The role of personal protective equipment in accidental injury prevention was discussed. Protection may be vital in the situation in which the danger is already present and the release of energy resulting in injury is imminent. Basic principles for head protection in Canada have concentrated upon the "struck by" type of hazard, the five regions of the head (top, front, back, right, and left), and the energy exchange of falling objects. Object impact on hard hats occurred 33 percent of the time on the top 20 percent of the hat area, 15 percent on the right hat area, 10 percent on the left hat area, 12 percent on the front hat area, seven percent on the back hat area, and 23 percent of the time on multiple locations. Only 33 percent of the impacts that actually occurred did so on the top of the hat, the impact test location in the requirement standards testing. An arbitrary assumption was made that one half of the energy of a falling object was imparted to the accident victim. Canadian studies on foot injuries indicated that the percentage of impacts to the foot were as follows: toe, 25; metatarsal, 13; sole, 6; ankle, 32; and heel, 6. At one time, protection was limited since only a steel box toe was required, and safe footwear was not required during the winter because of the supposed hazard from cold. Tests indicated that safety footwear provided equivalent or superior protection against cold. The addition of sole protection and and increased use of safety footwear in cold weather resulted in a decrease in the frequency of foot injuries. Similar problems with zero power safety glasses were also discussed.
Symposium on Occupational Safety Research and Education, Division of Safety Research and Division of Training and Manpower Development, NIOSH, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, DHHS (NIOSH) Publication No. 82-103