Frequently Asked Questions - Helmets and Helmet Tagging

HELMET TAGGING AND STANDARDS – FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

WHAT WILL HAPPEN IF I DON'T HAVE MY HELMET TAGGED?

At ESNZ we take riders safety very seriously; and the ESNZ General Regulation Article on protective headgear has recently been updated to reflect this by introducing a warning / fining system for those competitors who fail to wear approved tagged protective headgear.

DOWNLOAD ESNZ GENERAL REGULATIONS ARTICLE 151 - PROTECTIVE HEADGEAR

WHY IS MY EN 1384 STANDARD NO LONGER OK FOR COMPETITION?

In October 2014 the EU Commission announced the withdrawal of the European equestrian riding helmet standard EN1384. The EN1384 standard was removed because not all the Basic Health and Safety Requirements (“BHSRs") of the applicable European Directive were being correctly addressed by the standard. As a result of the withdrawal, this standard no longer offers a presumption of conformity, so it can no longer be used (or used alone) by equestrian helmet manufacturers to certify the conformity of their product with the European specifications.

ESNZ have chosen to take this directive seriously, but with a fair length of lead in time, giving riders until the end of July 2017 to replace their old EN1384 standard helmets with compliant helmets, for use in competition.

WHY ARE THERE DIFFERENT STANDARDS?

The various standards relate to the country they are certified in, but all standards meet the same high safety requirements.  I.e. Europe are now using VG1, the UK use the PAS 015 standard; USA use ASTM-F1163 and NZ and Australia use AS/NZS 3838

I’VE READ THAT THE VG1 STANDARD IS AN INTERIM STANDARD, WHAT DOES THAT MEAN?

This development is composed of a few technical modifications which aim to improve upon the already safe EN1384-2012 standard.  VG1 is being employed temporarily until new permanent standards are approved, and will span the gap for the CE mark.  However, this does not mean that VG1 standard helmets will not be allowed in the future.

IF MY HELMET IS COMPLIANT, BUT NOT YET TAGGED WITH THE RED TAG, CAN I STILL GET THIS DONE AFTER 31 JULY 2017?

Yes, tagging will still be taking place, at competitions and events and you will absolutely need to ensure your helmet is red tagged before entering the competition arena.  Obviously it will be easier for your helmet to be approved/checked (for you to compete in) if it already has a red tag affixed to it.

 ARE THERE PLANS TO UPDATE THE STANDARD AND REGULATIONS AGAIN, ANYTIME SOON?

No, we are quite satisfied with current regulations and have not heard of any changes to these coming in. 

WHO IS RESPONSIBLE FOR TAGGING HELMETS?

ESNZ and New Zealand Pony Clubs Association are both responsible for tagging and use the same red tags. A joint memorandum of understanding was signed to support the single tagging policy for New Zealand equestrian events and activities held by either of the two organisations.

ESNZ have approved several ESNZ Officials and members of staff throughout the country to check and tag compliant helmets. While NZ Pony Club are able to tag helmets for NZ Pony Club members at their rallies, training days and events.

IS ANY PARTICULAR STANDARD “SAFER” THAN THE OTHER COMPLIANT STANDARDS?

No, all compliant standards meet the same high safety standards and reviews, as long as your helmet conforms with one of the compliant standards, then it’s up to you what helmet you wear.  But we would encourage you to do your research on the various brands of helmets on the market, and chose for safety, fit and comfort (and aesthetics if you so desire).

The safest helmet is the one that best fits your head!  Always seek advice from an expert and buy a snuggly fitting helmet.

SOME TIPS TO KEEP YOU SAFE

-          Replace your helmet after a fall in which you have hit your head (and preferably every five years if no falls)

-          Don’t buy second hand helmets

-          Keep your helmet clean and out of the heat – heat can perish the lining.  Only use cleaning products specifically made for helmets

-          Don’t share, lend or borrow helmets

-          Wear only helmets certified for Equestrian use