Virginia Tech Helmet Lab Expands Focus to Improve Construction Helmet Safety

The Virginia Tech Helmet Lab, known for pioneering safety ratings in varsity football helmets, is expanding its scope beyond athletics by developing a new safety ratings system for construction helmets.

This initiative marks the first time the lab will apply its expertise outside sports, aiming to enhance head protection in one of the most hazardous industries. Construction, notorious for its high incidence of traumatic brain injuries (TBIs), serves as a critical focus due to its alarming workplace fatality rates.

Scheduled to commence this summer, the 18-month study aims to create a rating system similar to the lab’s existing five-star scale used in sports. Led by Steve Rowson, the lab’s director, the project seeks to characterize head impact and concussion risks specific to construction environments.

Virginia Tech Helmet Lab Expands Focus to Improve Construction Helmet Safety
Virginia Tech Helmet Lab Expands Focus to Improve Construction Helmet Safety

By analyzing accident reports and surveillance footage, researchers will identify prevalent injury scenarios and replicate these conditions in controlled laboratory tests.

Utilizing their Summation of Tests for the Analysis of Risk (STAR) model, which aggregates data from various test sites, the lab plans to generate an overall performance score for construction helmets.

This score, ranging from one to five stars, will provide stakeholders with crucial insights into helmet effectiveness under real-world conditions. The project aims to mitigate the severity of head injuries among construction workers, potentially saving lives by promoting the adoption of more effective personal protective equipment.

Scheduled for completion by August 2025, this pioneering effort underscores the lab’s commitment to advancing safety standards beyond sports, leveraging its biomechanics expertise to address pressing occupational safety challenges.

By bridging the gap between research and practical application, the Virginia Tech Helmet Lab aims to empower decision-makers to safeguard workers from the devastating impacts of head injuries in the construction industry.

Jackson Kelley
Jackson Kelley
Jackson is a political activist and market expert. He covers the impact of politics on the market and global economy.
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