How did Hard Hats become so iconic in construction?

The yellow hard hat is probably the most iconic image of the construction industry. Whenever you think of a builder or a construction site you probably think of a man in high visibility clothing wearing a hard hat.

Hard hats were first introduced in 1931 during the construction of the Hoover Dam in the United States. In 1933 during the construction of the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco hard hats were made mandatory on-site and have stuck with the industry ever since.

What are the purposes of hard hats?

The hard hat has the single goal of protecting workers‘ heads during construction or working on-site from any type of loose debris that might fall and injure or possibly kill a worker.

Why are hard hats have different colours?

As construction sites increase and became larger hard hats began being coloured to help better identify who was who on-site. These actions, however, were not regulated so site managers and supervisors as well as private contractors often used their own colours which conflicted with PPE standards and caused much confusion on-site. To counter this problem legislation was created in 2017 where it was decided that an official and proper colour coordination of hard hat colours were to be created and implemented across the UK.

What are the new hard hat colours?

The new standard aimed to make identifying individuals according to their role and safety qualifications easier. As such the following colours were made the official hard hat colours:
  • Black indicates site supervisors.
  • White is for site managers, competent operatives and vehicle marshals.
  • Slingers and signallers wear orange.
  • Blue is for everyone else, including apprentices and visitors. These individuals shouldn’t be working alone or wandering around the site unsupervised.
  • A green hat or sticker signifies a first aider.
  • A red hat or sticker means they are a fire marshal.
IMPORTANT: While these colours are the industry-recognised standard, some non-Build UK affiliated sites may use different colour coding. For instance, Network Rail only uses white and blue safety helmets on site.

If you wish to begin a career in the construction industry but don’t know where to start contact Construction and Plant Training Service at 01234 604151 or 0777 18 12 418.

9 reviews

If you find the same course at a lower price elsewhere, we’ll match it.

Related content

You may like this:

Book a course, improve your qualifications, change your life

Pay as little as £20 to reserve your place