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

12 May 2016

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...

John Ramsay, 13 May 2016

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

Lee Bradbury, 17 May 2016

What about grey, pink or yellow hats???

Mick, 18 May 2016

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

Will Grime, 22 May 2016

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.

Brendon Leigh, 24 May 2016

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

Mark Hanson, 28 October 2016

Wow different coloured party hats that's original

Robert Hudson, 21 December 2016

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.

Hauzan Kamil, 2 March 2017

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.

Kam lawani, 20 March 2017

How do you compensate for operatives who are colour blind???

Damian, 8 May 2017

White hats seem to be the most common I see on sites, and also readily available at places like Screwfix. Why isn't the white shell the option for the "normal" worker or visitor?

David, 1 June 2017

Black doesn't seem to best suit the high viz sense of health and safety does it?

I'd rather be covered in those little black, yellow-loving beetles than get hit by a digger bucket.

Jonathan Bradley, 6 June 2017

What a waste of time and money this just identifies who to avoid, White for skilled, Blue for everyone else. If I put a black hat on does that make me a foreman. utter rubbish.

Gary Browning , 22 November 2017

What UTTER nonsense, some trying to justify their jobs??? what does it matter what colour the hat is, the function is still the same? the view that this helps identify capability is laughable, most people on a site won't know the difference and wouldn't care less. As a manager it is hard enough to get staff to wear one without the CR** of choosing a colour. It is about time the industry stopped this silly nonsense. HSE don't care about the colour.

John, 13 December 2017

If the function of a hard hat is to prevent head injury then colour should not be part of the consideration?
The idea that different colour vests will further identify individuals assigned to different tasks is also flawed because there are only two colours of vest which comply with the standard, the Hi Vis green or orange.

Steve Murray, 10 January 2018

Colours are a good idea the brighter the better but NOT BLACK you can not see them in poor lighting conditions very well.
I would like to see the following, White- Site managers, Green- Gas workers, Blue- Water workers, Yellow- All site construction workers/operatives, Red- All Electricians and Orange- All visitors. My rule is To be SEEN is to be SAFE.
Gordon Rickwood 22 February 2018

Gordon Rickwood, 22 February 2018

All the salty blue hat wearers moaning, just aspire to get yourself a black hat and all the hassle and grief that comes with it..

Guvnor, 3 December 2019

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