What are the safety helmet colours from January 2017 onwards?

Safety helmet colours on Build UK members' sites should adhere to the following colour scheme on all new (and existing, where practicable) sites:

  • White - for site managers, competent operatives and vehicle marshalls (distinguished by the wearing of a different coloured high-visibility vest).
  • Black - for site supervisors.
  • Orange - for slingers and signallers.
  • Blue - for all other site visitors.


Are there any exceptions?

Network Rail's PPE standard requires only white and blue safety helmets to be used on site. 

Additional responsibilities - such as trained first aider or fire marshall - will be denoted by the use of stickers.

What were the colours before January 2017?

  • White - for managers, foremen, engineers or supervisors.
  • Green - for safety inspectors, new or probationary workers.
  • Yellow - for general labourers or earth-moving operators.
  • Brown - for those involved in high-heat applications such as welders.
  • Blue - for carpenters, electricians and other technical operators.
  • Orange - for road crews.
  • Grey - for site visitors.

You'll note that the 'traditional' yellow safety helmet is missing from the list of colours from January 2017.

What prompted the change?

There are a range of different approaches to safety helmet colours with sites and contractors having their own, often conflicting, approaches documented in their PPE standards. These inconsistencies are confusing and potentially dangerous. The new standard aims to make site visitors and other non-team members easily identifiable and ensure competencies.

What other stipulations apply to the use of safety helmets?

  • All other roles (such as vehicle marshall) are identifiable through the use of coloured high-visibility vests.
  • Reflective markings and role specific decals are permissible.
  • All safety helmets are required to meet the requirements of British Standard EN 397.

What to read next...

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We examine in detail the ‘hard hat’ – or ‘safety helmet’ – an essential item of safety equipment.

An employer's guide to personal protective equipment
Employers have a responsibility when it comes to providing personal protective equipment (and ensuring it is appropriately used) in the workplace. Here we outline some of the key considerations when thinking about PPE.