Head Protection

An employee working in areas with potential head injury arising from falling or flying objects, bumping against a fixed object, etc., are required to use a protective helmet. Protective helmets are also required where electrical hazards exist such as arc flash, electrical conductors, etc. Head injuries may be prevented by proper selection and use of appropriate head protection capable of resisting penetration, absorbing the shock of a blow and protecting against electric shock. As criteria for head protection, OSHA recommends protective helmets that comply with the following standards: ANSI Z89.1-2009; ANSI Z89.1-2003; and ANSI Z89.1-1997.

Hard Hat Classification

Hard hats are divided into two categories: Types I and II.

Type I reduces impacts from blow only to the top of the head. Type II reduces lateral impact from a blow that may be received from off-center, side or top of the head.

For electrical performance, there are three categories:

Class G (formerly A): Helmet provides electrical protection from low-voltage conductors (less than 2,200 volts)

Class E (formerly B): Helmet provides electrical protection from high voltage conductors (less than 20,000 volts)

Class C: Helmet provides only impact and penetration protection and since they are usually made of aluminum, which conducts electricity, they are not used around electrical hazards.

Affected employees should consult with their supervisor or EH&S for guidance in hard hat selection.

For more information on head protection, please review the other resources using the links provided.