What’s The Difference Between EN 397 and EN 12492?

What's The Difference Between EN 397 and EN 12492? JSP e1714638878351

The Vital Importance Of Head Protection

HSE (Health and Safety Executive) published figures revealed a total of 135 people in the UK died while at work in 2022/23. High among causes of death are those related to being ‘struck by a moving object’, and dangerous head injuries and skull fractures resulting from this type of accident are inevitably significant. Selecting the correct helmet for the specific task on hand is therefore imperative, so that the correct level of protection is available for the associated risks.

The HSE regulates health and safety standards for all forms of workwear and PPE. There are two generally applied Helmet Safety Standards with crucial differences in performance requirements. These are EN 397 and EN 12492. The fundamental difference between these head protection standards is the proposed usage, resulting in individual requirements. EN 397 covers the safety standards for INDUSTRIAL SAFETY HELMETS, which are essential designed to protect the wearer against falling heavy objects. EN 12492 is the specific safety standard applied for mountaineering use, where there is the risk of swinging and repeated all round impact. With EN 12492 providing effective protection against side impact, safety helmets made to this standard are becoming increasingly popular, and on some sites now the wearing of this type of helmet is mandatory.

In this article we take a closer look at both standards, the relevant testing procedures, and where they apply, and highlight an innovation on the market that offers an ingenious “all in one” solution.

EN 397 – Industrial Safety Helmets.

This standard was introduced over five decades ago. Testing is conducted on the top of the helmet, with a 49J impact to the crown of the helmet the requirement for shock absorption. The penetration test requires resistance to a 3kg conical striker applied from a distance of 1m. There is no requirement for protection against front, rear or side impact, but there is an optional rigidity test applicable, involving the exertion of a slow, progressing force loading, and a subsequent measurement of any resultant lateral deformation. Other optional tests include electrical shock resistance (440V electrical insulation), and molten metal splash resistance (burn time less than 5 seconds) and flame resistance (stops burning 5 seconds after the flame is removed).

There is no mandatory requirement for industrial helmets to have a chin strap, but where fitted they must release under a force of between 150-250N. This feature significantly reduces the risk of strangulation hazard or serious injury through the wearer being snared in machinery, scaffolding or other hazardous implements on site.

EN 12492 – Helmets for Mountaineers.

The testing applied to helmets compliant with the mountaineering standard necessitates impact testing with two 5kg strikers. A hemispherical striker is dropped from 2m onto the helmet crown, and a flat striker is dropped from 0.5m onto the helmet front, rear and side with the headform tilted at 30°. At no time must the shock load transmitted force through the neck of the headform exceed 10kN. A 3kg pointed striker is then used twice, with testing performed within a 50mm radius of the helmets crown. There must be no contact between the striker and the headform. There are specific requirements for the harness or cradle, and integral ChinStraps are compulsory for helmets tested to EN 12492, with a 500N test required on the retention system to guarantee the strap does not stretch or break when this force is applied. This ensures that the helmet will remain on the wearers head in the event of a fall. The incorporation of an internal impact liner to enhance side impact resistance is also mandatory.

This standard, though pertaining to mountaineering helmets, is commonly used on site when working at height, as the type of protection offered is particularly suitable.

A Note On Helmet and Chinstrap Compatibility, and Helmet Markings.

If your health and safety policy requires a chin strap to be worn, you must ensure that the correct chin strap is worn with the correct type of safety helmet. It is imperative that the chin strap and safety helmet meet the same safety requirements.

All safety helmets must have the following information marked on them:

  • European safety standard
  • Manufacturer’s name
  • Date stamp of manufacture
  • Model number or name (on the helmet and the harness)
  • Size range
  • Shell material

The JSP Dualswitch™ System – Compliant with Both EN 397 & EN 12492

In order to meet the growing demand for a single helmet fully certified to both standards, JSP have developed an enterprising solution. Through the simple flick of a switch on the strap, the wearer can modify their helmet to comply with either standard, meaning the same helmet meets the safety standards required when working at ground level or at height. The EVO®5 Dualswitch™ and the EVO® Vista®Dualswitch™ are fully tested and compliant with both EN 397 and EN 12492 as well as the EN 50365 electrical standard. Universal attachment slots enable secure and comfortable fitting of a range of Surefit™ safety visors and Sonis® ear defenders. Integrated eyewear is also available, a crucial element when working at height, where there is the opportunity for PPE to fall off. This Dualswitch™ technology is also available on the EVO® Vista® Safety Helmet Range which feature an integrated visor or face shield.

These products are all readily available from Clad Safety’s extensive head protection range.

At Clad, a vast knowledge bank of expertise and insight has been accumulated through over 30 years experience of supply chain partnerships with leading operators across the construction, rail and utilities sectors. We support Procurement Managers, Health and Safety Executives and Buying Teams from large organisations, as they work to ensure their teams are safe on site, and compliant with the latest legislation. So whether you need advice on bump caps, helmet standards, optional chinstraps, or a general overview on criteria for head protection, Clad Safety are the acknowledged experts, and we want to help you!

For further advice on head protection regulations, or any questions around safety at work, please get in touch on 0800 161 3661 or email us at [email protected].