Chartered Institute of Building Magazine of the Chartered Institute of Building

What colour hard hat should you wear? New coding system arrives

A new colour coding system for hard hats has been introduced for the UK construction industry.

Build UK, the main umbrella body for contractors, has created the code to make it easier to identify on-site personnel, and improve communication and safety across construction projects.

The Safety Helmet Colours Standard was drafted in consultation with the organisation’s membership.

The colour codes

Black: Supervisor

Orange: Slinger/Signaller

White: Site Manager/Competent Operative/Vehicle Marshall (distinguished by the wearing of a different coloured vest)

Blue: All those coming to site who do not fall into any of the above categories

Additionally, Build UK has launched a new Training Standard, which was developed in response to a Construction Leadership Council recommendation to specify and promote card schemes carrying the CSCS logo, and aims to help contractors assess the competence of construction workers, along with their eligibility to work on-site.

Julie White, chair of Build UK’s training and skills leadership group, said: “Both the Safety Helmet and Training Standards provide clear and practical help for everyone working onsite, showing that by improving our working relationships and using our collective voice, we can make a real difference to the industry.”

Suzannah Nichol, chief executive of Build UK, said: “Health and safety is a priority for Build UK and we are delighted with the positive response from our members who have welcomed the latest standards, which aim to make life easier and help them meet the increasing demands of working on-site.

“We will continue to bring the contracting supply chain together to engage intelligently and collaboratively in policy debates ensuring that Build UK, as the voice of the industry, leads positive and meaningful change.”

Build UK comprises 27 of the industry’s largest main contractors and 40 trade associations representing over 11,500 specialispecialist contractors.


So a consultant (engineer or architect) would wear a blue hat, being part of the catch all "everybody else" category? Complete nonsense...

  • 13th May 2016, at 04:42 PM
  • John Ramsay

Why didn't they chose colours to match the CSCS card competency levels???

  • 17th May 2016, at 05:00 PM
  • Lee Bradbury

What about grey, pink or yellow hats???

  • 18th May 2016, at 06:45 PM
  • Mick

I'm an architect and blue just doesn't go with my complexion, darling. I want a nice sunny yellow hat!

  • 22nd May 2016, at 07:04 AM
  • Will Grime

As a Resident Engineer, I've always had a white hat, it lets people know that I work for the client, not the contractor that I'm not some visitor or sales rep.

  • 24th May 2016, at 03:54 PM
  • Brendon Leigh

What about all the billions of yellow hats out there for sale. Why not yellow for site tradesmen and operatives?

  • 28th Oct 2016, at 09:35 AM
  • Mark Hanson

Wow different coloured party hats that's original

  • 21st Dec 2016, at 04:14 PM
  • Robert Hudson

In the site where I am working for, there are color codes used. The difference with your explanation is no black helmet. Red helmet is used for safety officer.

  • 2nd Mar 2017, at 05:36 AM
  • Hauzan Kamil

I'm so glad I've retired will this stuff never stop ?? I recall one site had all the workforce no matter what trade with large numbers on the back of their high vis vests like footballers. I had to pull up a site person carrying out site inductions when told i had passed i said not so fast how do i know what is being said in an emergency fire etc some of the workforce spoke no english what so ever, His reply was point taken. Priorities please.

  • 20th Mar 2017, at 01:39 PM
  • Kam lawani

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