Chinese worker smashes hard hat in viral video, raises safety concerns

A Chinese construction worker’s video of him easily smashing his safety hat with another one has raised concerns about standards of protective headgear.
PHOTO: Weibo

A viral video showing a construction worker's hard hat being smashed in by a stronger one, reputedly reserved for supervisors, has raised concerns about substandard safety gear in China.

Construction worker Dou Yongyu appeared in a video uploaded to streaming platform Kuaishou on April 11 looking to test the quality of two hard hats, a yellow one he was wearing and a red one, which he said was worn by supervisors. He smashed the two against each other, breaking a hole in the yellow one. The red one remained intact.

"Not even one hit … the hard hat for us construction workers is this kind of quality," the camouflage-clad builder said in the video before throwing the battered hat onto the ground.

The clip has gone viral on Kuaishou, receiving more than 2 million views. Many praised Dou for bringing attention to the issue.

"I support you. You gave voice to a complaint from many workers," one viewer wrote.

However, some internet users questioned where the responsibility for quality safety gear lies, as independent workers taking on short term jobs are responsible for buying their own hard hats, news site Guancha.cn reported.

Builders who take on jobs paid by the day need to have their own protective gear, Dou told the news site. He denied buying the hats used in the video and said they had been given out by a construction company, which he declined to name.

"Think about it, of course, the higher-ups get the good ones, the workers get the bad ones. It's very normal," Dou was quoted as saying.

The quality of safety hard hats is regulated in China. National guidelines include a requirement that they can withstand the impact of a 5kg metal rod falling from a height of one metre.

This article was first published in South China Morning Post