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RR762 - Diving helmet impact testing to EN397

Diving helmets used today by the majority of commercial divers in the UK are developed from the Standard Diving Dress of over 40 years ago. These brass helmets provided a large space around the head and fitted onto a yoke on the diver’s shoulders. Any impact would have been taken on the shoulders rather than onto the head and neck. Commercial divers regularly work on sites where lifting operations are being conducted and these pose a head impact hazard both on the surface and underwater. However, most, if not all, diving helmets have not been tested to determine the level of head protection they provide. The recent introduction of the standard BS EN 15333 for Surface Supplied Diving Apparatus requires that helmets made to this standard should be classified as offering head protection to one of three classes:

The aim of this research project was to investigate the level of protection current commercial diving helmets provide. The number of helmets available for this was limited to three from the same manufacturer. However, the results are considered to be broadly representative of helmets used in the diving industry today as one manufacturer makes most of the helmets used in the industry. Testing was carried out using the calibrated Rosand drop rig of the HSL Mechanical Engineering Section and filmed using high-speed video cameras of HSL Visual Presentation Services Section.

This report and the work it describes were funded by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). Its contents, including any opinions and/or conclusions expressed, are those of the authors alone and do not necessarily reflect HSE policy.

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Updated 2010-01-27