1919 Began “A Century of Safety”: 103 Years Later, GPRS Reaches A New Safety Milestone

1919 Began “A Century of Safety”: 103 Years Later, GPRS Reaches A New Safety Milestone

The new “Century of Safety” is upon us and GPRS is joining many of our largest clients to standardize KASK safety helmets throughout our respective organizations.

1919 was a year of astonishing firsts: Women received the right to vote as the 19th Amendment was passed. The Green Bay Packers were formed. And the Chicago White Sox threw the World Series in their infamous “Big Fix.”

1919 also gave birth to a first that changed the construction industry forever. 

Because a former cavalry lieutenant by the name of Edward W. Bullard returned from World War I and created an incredible invention that has protected workers in every industry for the last 103 years – the hard hat.

His lifesaving invention, designed originally to keep miners safe and based on WWI “doughboy” helmets, has been credited with providing “more than a century of safety” by the National Inventors Hall of Fame

From doughboy to the 21st Century: GPRS remains on the cutting edge with KASK safety helmets.  

Bullard created his “Hard Boiled Hat” by steaming and molding together layers of heavy canvas that hardened when dried. The construction industry quickly recognized the significance of the hard hat, and in 1933, the Golden Gate Bridge construction project became the world’s first “hard hat area.” 

Since then, the hard hat has become an industry standard, used by everyone from firefighters and the military, to construction and, of course, the miners for whom it was invented. 

But while significant advancements have been made to most other types of PPE, outside of moving from canvas to plastic and then fiberglass, the hard hat has remained essentially the same for the last 60 years.

Then, in 2004, KASK, an Italian company that specializes in head protection, created a safety helmet for construction. Now, KASK America is based in Charlotte, North Carolina and offers an array of protective gear for everyone from the cycling, climbing, and horse enthusiasts through their KASK Sport Line, to the construction, first response, and safety industries with their Safety Line.

It took some time for people to lose their attachment to Bullard’s tried and true hard hat, but the data simply cannot be denied: KASK has created a superior protection product that is so advanced, you can no longer call it a mere hard hat. 

Instead of the boiled canvas or even fiberglass of yesteryear, this next generation of protection is made of high-density polypropylene, containing a solid cushion of foam within, to protect the wearer from falling objects and collision. And the addition of an adjustable chinstrap helps keep the helmet in place, even should the wearer fall. 

The new “Century of Safety” is upon us, and we at GPRS are joining many of our largest clients to standardize KASK safety helmets throughout our respective organizations.

The reason is simple and of the utmost importance, just like it was for Edward Bullard 103 years ago: The safety of our people. 

Head injuries can be catastrophic to our team members and their families. The National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) has compiled eight years of data showing that construction workers sustain more traumatic brain injuries than any other workforce in the U.S., and older workers in the field are four times more likely to suffer a fatal head injury.

As an industry leader committed to “Widening The Gap” between ourselves and industry standards, this level of risk is simply unacceptable, which is why we happily shoulder the additional cost of the new KASK helmets to help ensure the safety of our team.

KASK’s new generation of head protection is significantly safer, more durable, and more comfortable for our team members. 

  • Traditional hard hats like the MSA V-Guard have been in use for over 60 years, and are only rated for impact on the top of the head. The new polypropylene helmets are rated ANSI Type I, but have passed Type II testing for impact on the top, sides, back, and front.
  • Traditional hard hats have uncomfortable, outdated suspensions inside to cushion their fit. The updated safety helmets have robust and comfortable high-density foam liners and adjustable straps inside while still weighing approximately one pound and containing much-needed ventilation.
  • As anyone in the field who has ever looked up knows, traditional hard hats fall off easily, leaving you wholly unprotected. The 21st century safety helmets have an integrated chin strap to always keep the head protection in place, preventing unnecessary injuries. 
  • And perhaps most importantly, traditional hard hats have a life of 3-5 years. The upgraded KASK helmets have at least a 10-year shelf life, depending on variables like sudden temperature shifts and the intensity of use.

KASK passes every helmet through rigorous testing as part of their distinctive CSD (ComfortSafetyDesign) Project. Because KASK’s mission is simple: 

“…to maintain a perfect balance between technological excellence, functionality, safety, and attractive design in their products. KASK is constantly researching and looking for ways to go beyond and improve the quality of KASK helmets even further.”

By embracing this innovation in safety, GPRS will protect our people from injury while making them more comfortable, and ultimately saving money because although the initial cost of the helmets is higher, they last three times longer, and offer superior protection. 

Taking this necessary step allows us to do what is most important – to see our people return home safely to their loved ones – the very reasons they go to work in the first place.

If you’d like to learn more about GPRS’ commitment to safety as we “Widen The Gap” to go above and beyond industry standards, you can read more about us, here