Safety Standards at Mackey Equestrian
The Equestrian Riding Helmet
HOW HELMETS WORK
Download 'Helmet Standards Explained' document here
A riding helmet is designed to protect your head from external impacts. Your brain is cushioned in your skull by fluid, meaning there is a gap between your brain and the interior wall of your skull. Injury can result when the head comes to a sudden stop, while the brain keeps moving until it hits the inside of the skull, often resulting in concussion or in severe cases brain damage.
The part of a riding helmet that does most of the work is the protective liner, made of a high grade polystyrene, (think of it as microscopic bubble wrap). This is protected in turn by a tough (fibre glass or plastic shell).
On impact, i.e. when you fall and land, the helmet does two things. Firstly the shell diffuses the impact over a larger area; secondly the liner reduces bruising to the brain by increasing the length of time it takes for your head to stop. The bigger the impact the more layers of bubbles will burst. Basically it is the hat liner that collapses and not your head.
There are four current safety standards relevant to riding hats.
PAS015 – awarded by the British Standards Institution
BSEN1384 - awarded by the British Standards Institution
ASTM F1163 – awarded by ASTM (American Society for Testing and Materials) International
Snell E2001 developed in America by the Snell Institute.
Each standard represents a different set of accident situations, all of which vary slightly and focus on different areas of testing. Helmets meeting all or most of these standards provide the most comprehensive protection, as they cover a wider range of accident situations.
Charles Owen has the largest range of headwear independently certified to three safety standards in the world. Offering a protective hat for every head and riding pursuit. All their safety helmets carry the Kitemark which shows that their standards are consistently high and are subject to random and independent batch testing.
Charles Owen Safety Standards
How Protective Headwear works
Modern technology has enabled manufacturers to reproduce hats that are very strong, lightweight and extremely comfortable to wear. The bit of the hat that does the work of protecting your head is the protective liner, made of high grade polystyrene (like microscopic bubble wrap) which is in turn protected by a hard (fibre glass or plastic) shell. See below for the Half Hat side view.
On impact, i.e. when you fall and land, the helmet does two things. Firstly the shell diffuses the impact over a large area, then the liner reduces bruising to the brain by increasing the length of time it takes for the shock to meet your head and you to stop. The bigger the impact the more layers of bubbles will burst so it is basically the hat liner that collapses, not your head. It is for this reason that if the hat suffers a severe impact – even dropping onto a hard surface, it should be thrown away and a new one purchased. It is easy to replace a hat, but impossible to replace a head!
Hat standards continue to evolve as a result of improvements in technology and developments in methods of testing together with an increased understanding how riders fall and the injuries that they sustain in accidents. All hats and skulls to current standards must be fitted with an integral adjustable 3-point harness and if there is a peak it must be flexible. Chin cups are no longer allowed in any current standards.
Standards are usually composed by a committee, in Europe each country sending their own representative to the European technical committee. European standards are reviewed every five years or following a complaint about its efficacy and although a review does not necessarily lead to a new standard, history has shown that a new standard emerges every ten years or so. PAS standards are managed by BSI staff and are reviewed every two years.