If the hard hat has sustained an impact, dispose of it immediately, even if the damage is not visible.
Protecting employees from potential head injuries is a key element of a safety program in virtually all industries. The primary reasons for an organization to require hard hats in the work environment is to help protect employees from head trauma from objects falling from above; bumping into fixed objects, such as pipes or beams; or contact with electrical hazards. Head protection also can serve to help protect employees from splashes, rain, high heat, and exposure to ultraviolet light.
In this article, we will discuss many of the frequently asked questions related to hard hats.
When Is a Hard Hat Required?
OSHA requires, in 29 CFR 1910.135, that if the following hazardous conditions are present, then head protection is required:
- Objects might fall from above and strike employees on the head
- There is potential for employees to bump their heads against fixed objects, such as exposed pipes or beams
- There is a possibility of accidental head contact with electrical hazards
Other countries or organizations may have additional requirements, but most regulations are hazard based and start with a thorough workplace hazard assessment.
What Industry Standard or Approval Do Hard Hats Need?
This can vary by country or global region because there are various standards in place. In North America, the current standards are the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) Standard for Head Protection, Z89.1 (current version is 2009) and the Canadian Standards Association (CSA) Industrial Protective Headwear, Z94.1 (current version is 2005). These two standards share the “Type” and “Class” descriptors, which makes it easier to ensure that the right hard hats are selected for your application. However, as you will see below, the tests are slightly different, so a hard hat manufacturer must test to all standards that it chooses to meet, based upon the markets in which it wants to sell.