007 - Brain Jiggle is Bad: The Injury Your Hard Hat Overlooks


Olof (00:00):
And this rotation motion can result in shearing or stretching of the brain tissue, which can affect the brain and increase the risk of both minor and more severe brain injury.

Al (00:16):
Welcome everybody to Radio Free Tenacity, the voice of worker safety. I'm your host Al Buczkowski. I appreciate you lending us your ears and, and actually to make sure the pod reaches more ears, please do us a solid and rate review, uh, share Radio Free Tenacity with all your friends and colleagues. Uh, that'll really help us show up where we need to show up and get discovered by more people like you. Uh, so thank you very much for your support and, uh, for sharing Radio Free Tenacity. Uh, today on the pod we're joined by Olof Rylander of Mips. Uh, that's a Swedish head protection company and if you've ever shopped for a bike helmet or you're, maybe you're a skier or snowboarder, you might be somewhat familiar with Mips technology. And now it's being pulled into the industrial safety space with, uh, Ergodyne Skullerz safety helmets. I'll leave the details to Olof, but I mean, really the gist is this: hard hat and safety helmet standards are not really addressing brain injuries from every angle. Literally. And, and Olof is here to explain what I mean by that and more. So with no further ado here's my chat with Olof Rylander of Mips.

Al (01:39):
Welcome to Radio Free Tenacity. Olof Rylander, senior business developer of safety for Mips. Olof, thank you for joining us. We're really excited to have you.

Olof (01:49):
I appreciate it, Al. Thank you for having me. It's going to be fun to talk to you here today.

Al (01:53):
Absolutely, absolutely. So I think it makes sense to start with you telling us a little bit about Mips. The history, the mission, um, you know, where, where you're coming from and where you're going.

Olof (02:08):
Sure, Mips we are a Swedish based company that, that specializes in helmet based safety and protection. And we are a world leader in, in this area. Uh, we are based on an ingredient brand model. So the Mips safety system is sold to the global helmet industry. And our patented solution is based on over actually 25 years of research and development together with two institutes here in Sweden. One is the Royal Institute of Technology. And the other one is the Karolinska Institute, which is a university hospital here in Stockholm, Sweden. Um, we have been very successful actually to bring our technology to the sport market. Uh, pretty much anyone in the, in north America. If they look into, uh, their bicycle helmet, there snow helmet or any other kind of sport helmets, they would find our technology. Maybe even if they didn't even know that it's in there. If you look, you'll see the Mips sticker on the side and maybe that yellow layer on the inside, that's kind of our color. And, and the technology is even in the U.S., they do tests for different kinds of helmets. And one of the tests institutes is the Virginia Tech and this is public information. You can go into their website and look at their ranking of bicycle helmets that they do. They do this several times a year. And what you would find is that the Mips technology is in all the top 10, I believe right now, uh, best ranking helmets on, on their website. So that's something you, you guys can go in and look at, um, our mission, you know, that's plain and simple to lead the world to safer helmets.

Al (03:48):
Okay. All right. So you've, you've been doing that for awhile, um, in the kind of the, the recreational and athletic realm. And now you're just kind of pulling that, uh, technology into the safety space?

Olof (04:01):
That's exactly right. You know, we think we see a lot of, um, Mips applications when it comes to helmets and so. So we started out, actually started out with equestrian helmets, uh, but it really took off when we introduced it to the bicycle industry. And we've been there now for a decade or so, uh, very big in North America, as I said previously. And, uh, we, we had snow helmets, we also have it in, you know, other professional helmets. There is military helmets using this and things. We are now entering, you know, the, in the industrial sector and the construction industry helmets. Uh, so it's new for us with construction and industrial type of helmets. But as you said, sport helmets we've been in for a decade or so.

Al (04:44):
So I think key to understanding what the Mips safety system is and does, is understanding this notion of rotational motion, right? And, and why that's harmful. Can you speak a little bit to that?

Olof (04:58):
Absolutely. So, uh, you know, there are kind of two type of forces that you got introduced to when you have a, an impact. So it's a linear aspect is something that hits you, you know, straight or perpendicular to your, your head. And then there is an oblique impact, which then it's an angle impact, uh, and with the oblique impact, there is something called rotational forces that are introduced to the head or can be introduced to your head. So when you have an oblique impact, uh, you, you, you can get something that's called rotational motion of the brain. And when we spoke, speak about rotation motion, we talked about that the brain is rotating relative to the skull bone inside our head. And this rotation motion can result in shearing or stretching of the brain tissue, which can affect the brain and increase the risk of both minor and more severe brain injuries.

Al (05:53):
Okay. All right. So with that in mind then, how, how does the Mips safety system work to, to mitigate that rotational motion?

Olof (06:02):
Well, so when an impact occurs, uh, the forces that build up between the head and helmet, it's, it's huge. These impact forces can actually be compared to about 10 people suddenly standing on your head, which, you know, high pressure. Uh, so the friction between the head and helmet then with this force makes it very hard for the helmet to move. Even if the chin strap is slightly loose, you know, this is something we sometimes get from customers that, you know, "I don't think I need the Mips system because my helmet is easily movable on my head." Well, that's of course, when you don't have that force on your head. But with this force, you know, and certain oblique impacts, the Mips low friction layer actually allows the helmet to slide about half an inch relative to your head. And again, even when that high load occurs, so this sliding motion is intended to help reduce the impact of rotational energy that may be transferred to the head at these oblique impacts.

Al (07:03):
Okay. All right. So the, that low friction layer, the Mips system is absorbing some of that and that, that energy that would otherwise be, um, um, put, put upon your brain, correct?

Olof (07:18):
Yeah. We cannot say, we cannot say that, you know, it helps to reduce the rotation of the whole head a little bit. So when you hit it on the side, instead of having the whole head rotate, the helmet can kind of slide and take a little bit of that rotation. So that's what it's intended to do.

Al (07:35):
Okay. Okay. So then where, where is the Mips safety system located on the helmet? How does that, how does that really affect the fit and comfort, if at all?

Olof (07:47):
Yeah, so good question. You know, first of all, you, you find it on the inside of your helmet. So, uh, once you're, you know, if you flip the Skullerz, Skullerz Mips helmet, uh, you look at the inside, you'll see this, you know, character, characteristic, yellow layer right there. So it actually slides on the harness itself. So it's in between the harness and your head and there it is. So you'll see it right away. Uh, and what we've seen and heard from the early adopters of this system is that, you know, the comfort, if anything, it's actually more comfortable having it in there than, than not. So it's been really a positive feedback on that aspect. And then on top of that, of course, if they understand what the system also does for the wearer they, they, they think it's a great system that they want to use.

Al (08:35):
For sure, for sure. And right now, really only a few safety PPE companies, Ergodyne included, have, have really begun to address the rotational forces issue by making Mips available on safety helmets. Do you, Olof, see this as something that's going to pick up steam and maybe become a standard safety helmet feature in the future?

Olof (09:01):
I, I truly do think that it will be there some, one day, you know, but these standard committes, they don't work in the same pace as you and me, Al. Uh, so unfortunately I think we, we are a few years away from seeing a standard requirement in regards to the rotation forces. Um, but until then what we can do is just to inform everyone that about these risks, you know, and, uh, what happens when you're exposed to rotation forces and so-so, I mean, uh, we, we do what we can and we try to influence the standards as well, but that will take a longer time, I believe.

Al (09:36):
No, absolutely. Absolutely. And to your point of, of educating ourselves, you can find plenty of information on the Mips safety system, uh, how it works at mipsprotection.com, um, and also a little shameless plug here. You can go to ergodyne.com and, um, uh, find, uh, the Mips safety system and our Skullerz, uh, safety helmets. Uh, we're really excited and, and honored to be one of the first adopters here in North America of the Mips safety system. And being able to provide that to, to workers is, is huge. Um, Olof I can't thank you enough for your time, um, to, to hop on here and explain the technology behind Mips, um, and, uh, good luck to y'all in the future in your mission.

Olof (10:29):
My pleasure, my pleasure. Anytime Al. I appreciate you having me here.

Al (10:37):
All right, thanks again to Olof Rylander of Mips for really taking us to school on angled impacts, rotational forces, and their relationship to traumatic brain injuries. Uh, you can definitely dive deeper into the science behind Mips at mipsprotection.com. Uh, lots of great demos and explainer vids there. Definitely if you're interested in checking out the new Mips version of Ergodyne's Skullerz safety helmets, head on over to ergodyne.com and search Mips.That'll do it for a Radio Free Tenacity, uh, for this episode. Thanks again for listening and stay safe out there people.