Wearing yellow is old hat for construction workers

New colour-coded system will see traditional helmet colour head out of site

IT’S the end of an era for the yellow hard hat as construction companies across the UK begin to slowly hang them up for the last time.

In a bid to make construction sites safer, industry chiefs are replacing the traditional Bob the Builder-style helmets with a new colour-coded system, and there is no place for the trusted sunshine-coloured headgear.

The legislation change, which comes into force in January, means the popular TV character alongside real-life builders and tradesmen will need a hat makeover in order to work on site.

Drafted in consultation with its members, the Build UK Safety Helmet Colours Standard aims to promote best practice on construction sites and has been designed to ensure that on-site personnel are easily identifiable.

With health and safety a top priority for Build UK, it is hoped the implementation of this consistent approach will result in the improvement of on-site communication and increased safety on construction projects.

As part of the new system, white hats – to be worn by site managers and qualified tradesmen – will become the most common colour on construction sites.

Site supervisors will don black, slingers and signallers will wear orange and everyone else will have a blue hat.
Trained first aiders and fire marshals will also have stickers on their helmets.

The colour change has been well received within the industry with Highways England announcing they would be adopting the new system on all construction and maintenance sites next year and this “emphasises the industry’s willingness to collaborate and share best practice in order to tackle key construction challenges,” says Build UK chief executive Suzannah Nichol MBE.

Construction contractor Auburn Hill is also supporting the colour-coded system with managing director Paul Matthews expecting a reduction in the number of injuries and onsite accidents.

"Health and safety on any site is the number one priority,” he said.

“Being on any building or construction is demanding, so having a system whereby you can immediately identify whose who – and perhaps most importantly who is trained in first aid – is going to make an extremely positive impact, especially in the darker days of winter.

“I would expect to see the number of incidents, accidents and injuries reduced as individual’s skills and limits are essentially on display."

Nichol added: “We are delighted that our Safety Helmet Colours Standard, which aims to provide clear and practical help for everyone working on-site, is being taken on and implemented by the wider industry as best practice.”

Safety helmet colours
Black: Supervisor
Orange: Slinger/signaller
White: Site manager/competent operative or vehicle marshall
Blue: Everyone else

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