An Issue of Safety - Part 1

It’s been really interesting to see the volume of queries we have had at both events and via our website regarding questions around helmet safety since the NZ Pony Club Association published its press release and new guidelines for helmet certifications and tagging.

Firstly, it’s great to see that the NZPCA have clarified their position and published it well in advance.

Secondly, it’s heartening to see that parents and members are following up on these guidelines and care enough about their safety to start asking questions. There still does appear to be a fair amount of confusion regarding the helmet certifications.

Hopefully the following information will clarify a few areas for you.

What's in a certification?

The review of the helmet standards has been underway for some time and is basically a review to remove the EN 1384 standard. Reviewing these standards are an ongoing process and typically happen every 5 years. It doesn’t necessarily mean changes are actioned from these reviews although as a guideline it’s expected a recommended change will come through every 10 years or so. 

In this case, the removal of the EN 1384 standard was confirmed in December 2014 by the EU Commission and since then the various organisations associated with disciplines of equestrian riding in the UK have been providing guidelines for their changeover timelines with final dates now published. These ultimately flow through to Australia and New Zealand.

So what standard’s symbols should you be looking for on a helmet?

To future proof yourself and for any new purchase of a helmet you should AVOID the following standards:
BS3686; BS6473:1984; BS4472:1988 – these preceded the first European standard and were withdrawn in 1997
EN1384 1996 / BSEN 1384 1997/ BSEN1384 2012 – these are perfectly valid current standards for the time being but are slowly being phased out. They will be acceptable for hacking and hunting only after 1 January 2017.

A helmet SHOULD HAVE one or any combination of the following standards from 1 January 2017. Please note that some organisations are working to slightly different timelines and this may be an earlier requirement in some cases:

So where to from here?

If you have any questions about what your club or organisation will be implementing and when, your next steps should be to contact them. The changes affect a wide range of equestrian disciplines from Riding for the Disabled through to Polo as well as your local Pony Club. The NZPCA will be initiating a new helmet tagging regime for the start of the 2016/2017 season so their website is a great source of information.

We think it’s a great step forward for head safety but we do hope that the next focus will be on Body Protector standards - that’s for another blog.

This blog was originally posted on 26 June 2016


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