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Hard hat on a hot day is no safety aid

LETTERS

Sir, I have read with interest the responses to my letter about Cornish stone hedgers and personal protection equipment (Why do I need to wear a hard hat on Dartmoor? Letters, August 18).

The safety consultants' response was to be expected: 'If the employer says you must wear a hard hat then you must wear one.' There is no assessment of whether they are necessary.

So why not dress everyone in helmets, welders' goggles, chainsaw trousers and ear defenders? My workers will not hear anything, see anything and will quickly die of heat exhaustion.

A subcontractor who had helped me on occasion a few years ago died of a heart attack while working. The death certificate said 'heart attack' but I think it should have said 'heart attack caused by heat exhaustion through wearing a hard hat on a hot day'.

Wearing a bump cap may be slightly easier, but they still hold in the heat.

I repeat 'if there is a risk of head injury wear a hard hat'.

Your correspondent Mr Burton thinks that 50 kg stones are too heavy to lift by hand.

Well I can tell him that the oldest Cornish hedges have been dated at over 4,000 years old and we continue building them today. Maybe it is our diet of Cornish pasties made from local beef that makes us so strong.

When my son built a stone masonry wall in his friend's garden he took his seven-yearold boy with him. When the boy realised that they had run out of cement he went to the van and brought a 25 kg bag himself. My father-in-law built hedges until he was 86.

In 2001 we completed nearly 20 miles of such hedge in Anglesey using 50,000 tonnes of stone. Each man lifted 25 tonnes of stone per day, with the 100 kg stones rolled into the bottom row. The number of days lost through back injury ? nil.

By the way, the HSE Policy Unit gets very angry when it gets the blame for contractors going 'over the top' on PPE issues.

Roger Clemens Penrose Cornwall