Many work scenarios require head protection. If you work in a field that requires a hard hat, it’s a good idea to double-check that your workplace is providing safe gear for you. Head injuries can be serious.
Workers in the path of falling objects, in danger of hitting their heads or at risk of electrical shocks are at the greatest risk for head injuries.
The Occupational Safety and Health Organization (OSHA) has specific standards for hard hats used in the workplace.
4 OHSA requirements for hard hats
- Hard hats should protect from objects
- Hard hats should absorb the shock from a blow
- Hard hats should be fire-resistant
- Hard hats should be water-resistant
Are you wearing the right hard hat?
Different jobs require different types of hard hats. There should be a label inside your hard hat with the manufacturer name, ANSI designation and class of the hat. What kind of work do you do? Do you have the right class of hat?
The 3 industrial classes of hard hat are:
- Class G – General Helmet: These protect against impact and penetration.
- Class E – Electric Helmet: These protect against electrical hazards as well as impact and penetration.
- Class C – Conductive Helmet: These offer light impact protection and comfort, but no electrical protection.
How do you know if your hard hat is safe to use?
Someone should clean and inspect your hard hat regularly, checking for cracks or perforations. You should also check the suspension for cut of frayed straps. If no concerns arise, follow the approved maximum life date issued by the manufacturer.
If a hat is involved in an accident and sustains damage, a new hat should be issued immediately. It is good practice to avoid storing hats in extreme heat or direct sunlight, which can damage the material, causing it to become chalky or dull. This indicates deterioration. If you are working in these conditions, consider replacing your hat sooner than you would in other circumstances.
Many workplace injuries can be prevented with the use of proper protective gear. Safe hard hat use is an excellent place to begin.