A hard hat is a type of protective helmet predominantly used in workplace environments such as industrial or construction sites where there is a possible danger of head injury from impact, falling debris, rain, or from electrical shock and electrical burns. The hard hat comes in different styles, sizes and colors.Best Sellers
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Frequently Asked Questions
When are hard hats required?
OSHA has two standards that govern hard hat requirements:29 CFR 1910.135 (general industry) and 29 CFR 1926.100 (construction, demolition, and renovation workers). Both standards require workers to wear hard hats when there is a potential for head injury from impact and penetration hazards as well as from electrical shock and burn hazards.
Some examples of occupations for which head protection should be routinely considered are: carpenters, electricians, lineman, mechanics and repairers, plumbers and pipe fitters, assemblers, packers, wrappers, sawyers, welders, laborers, freight handlers, timber cutting and logging, stock handlers, and warehouse laborers.In general, protective helmets or hard hats should do the following:
- Resist penetration by objects.
- Absorb the shock of a blow.
- Be water-resistant and slow burning.
- Have clear instructions explaining proper adjustment and replacement of the suspension and headband.
OSHA 29 CFR 1910.135
OSHA 29 CFR 1926.100
What type of hard hat do I need?
ANSI Z89.1-1986 separates protective helmets into different types and classes. The standard identifies Type 1 and Type 2 hard hats.
Type I: Have a full brim around the entire hat. These are only mean to to protect workers from object blows that come from above and strike the top of the helmet. Type II: Have no encircling brim, but may include a short bill on the front (similar to a baseball cap). These hard hats are designed to offer protection from lateral blows and objects, plus impacts to the top of the head.
- Class G Hard Hat (general, non-conductive) provides impact and penetration resistance along with limited voltage protection (up to 2,200 volts).
- Class E Hard Hat (electrical, non-conductive) provides the highest level of protection against electrical hazards, with high-voltage shock and burn protection (up to 20,000 volts). They also provide protection from impact and penetration hazards by flying/falling objects.
- Class C Hard Hat (conductive, no electrical rating) provide lightweight comfort and impact protection but offer no protection from electrical hazards.
What do different hard hat colors mean?
Hard hat colors can signify different roles on construction sites. These color designations vary from company to company and work site to work site. There are no official rules and regulations on hard hat safety color codes.
The most common color scheme is:
- White Hard Hat: managers, architects, engineers, foremen or supervisors
- Green Hard Hat: often signifies a safety inspector, but is also used for new workers
- Yellow: commonly worn by general laborers and earth-moving operators
- Blue/Orange: Carpenters, technical advisers and temps
- Orange Hard Hat: road crews, new employees or visitors
- Pink Hard Hats: Loaners for workers who forget their own hard hat
- Brown fiberglass hard hats: welders and other workers for high heat applications
How often should hard hats be replaced?
One common misconception is that hard hats have a predetermined service life - that is not the case. All hard hat components should be inspected daily for signs of dents, cracks, penetration and any damage due to impact, rough treatment, or wear. Although it is not considered a "shelf life", some hard hats do have "Useful Service Life Guidelines". These guidelines suggest replacing the suspension every 12 months and the hard hat after 5 years of use. Any hard hat that fails the visual inspection should be removed from service until the problem is corrected. Workers in extreme conditions or where there is exposure to chemicals or high temperatures may need to replace their hard hats as often as every two years. Hard hats that have been exposed to heat, sunlight or chemicals may become chalky, dull or inflexible.
Where should hard hats be stored?
Sunlight can affect many hard hat materials, so make sure your hard hat is stored away from it. That means it really shouldn't be left on a truck's dashboard or hanging from a hook on the back windshield.
Can I put decals on my hard hat?
In most instances, yes. Pressure sensitive, non-metallic stickers or tape with self-adhesive backing are acceptable on most of today’s hard hats. However there are some general guidelines to follow: Do not use stickers to cover up hard hat damage, and place stickers at least ½ inch from the helmets edge. Hard hat shells should not be painted unless you receive specific approval by the manufacturer.