If you thought hard hats were just for construction workers, you thought wrong! Chicks with Ticks have also been known to sport them from time to time (along with our snake boots and waders). “Why?” you might ask. Because sometimes we just plain have to. Simple as that. Some of the places we work require everyone on the property to wear a hard hat for protection against overhead hazards. No exceptions. Not even for geeky ecologists collecting data out in the middle of the woods! For awhile this perplexed us, because what kind of overhead hazards could we possibly come across in the freaking woods?? Well, it turns out there are more than you might think…. and if they exist, Jacque or I have probably encountered them! Here are some examples of pesky overhead hazards:
1) Tree limbs – I swear they just appear out of nowhere and WHACK you right in the head! And trust me, it HURTS. Hard hats definitely lesson the blow, and therefore are the #1 reason to wear a hard hat in the woods.
2) Spider webs – Have you ever walked straight into a spider web? We have, and it’s gross. Usually if you’re wearing a hard hat the stickiness (and the creepy crawly living on it) will end up there rather than all over your face.
3) Spiders, grasshoppers, ticks, etc. - While related to #2, these get their own hazard category. Think of it this way… would you rather have these things in your hair or on your hard hat? I think the answer is pretty simple.
4) Survey rods gone wild – Some field partners have been known to drop long metal rods and WHACK (see #1 above)!
5) Trips and falls – It’s a jungle out there, and even though we are careful, we do sometimes trip. Like falling off a bike with a helmet on, it’s always safer to trip over a root with a hard hat on!
6) Bird poop – Bombs away! Look out below! Does this really need an explanation?
7) Sunburns – This might be stretching it…
8) Cold weather – I know this isn’t technically an overhead hazard, but hard hats are nice for keeping your head warm on cold days (like today.. brrrrrr).
Needless to say, we have grown to embrace wearing our hard hats in the woods!