Hard hats have two roles - the most important is to keep the construction or highway worker safe. The second is for the colour of the hard hat to signify the highway worker's role and level of responsibility and be recognisable in an instant.
What does the colour of a hard hat mean?
In 2017, Highways England switched to a new colour-coded hard hat scheme for highway operatives to wear.
Blue: inexperienced person or visitor
White: general use, a manager of a client or competent operative
Orange: slinger or signaller
Black: site supervisor
Green/yellow: no longer required
The idea behind this change was to improve standards and streamline the range of hard hats that can be worn on site. This was part of the 'Raising the bar' health and safety initiative that Highways England introduced, which set out to raise standards in highway works and improve supply chain engagement levels.
What do black hat supervisors do?
Black hat wearers are highway workers who are at the top of the site supply chain. They endorse and ensure health and safety is followed at all times in a workzone. It's really important that those who wear black hats lead by example and are fully competent and trained to the highest supervisory level. They will wear black hats so as to be easily recognised as the site supervisor and are often referred to as simply 'black hats'.
How do Highway Care enforce black hat best practices?
Highway Care take site health and safety very seriously and in order to try and disseminate information and put proper regulations into place we held our very own 'black hat' day for our operations team.
What is a black hat training day?
A black hat day meant that the management team could take operational supervisors out of the business to spend quality time with them away from the busy workplace.
Led by the operations director, with input from the operational managers and HSEQ Manager, the first session focused on the following topics:
- Roles, responsibilities and accountabilities
- HSEQ and incident management
- Working practices and workplace scenarios
- Accident response and investigation
- Transport and equipment
- Open forum to debate and discuss ideas
This allowed both procedures and practices to be discussed and put in place as well as getting supervisor feedback on any constraints, so that the team can work together to continually improve Highway Care's overall operational performance.
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Here's one of our black hat training days in action. Highway Care aim to put one of these into practice at least each quarter.