Hard hats are a common form of personal protective equipment that workers should expect to wear when working in construction. In all construction workplaces where there could be falling objects or other hazards, safety protocols typically require workers to wear hard hats that meet specific national standards. These hats can help prevent head injuries if an object drops onto the person’s head or if they fall unexpectedly.
There are different kinds of hard hats approved by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, which is something that you may not have known. Wearing the wrong kind of hat could put you at a higher risk of injury.
Hard hats should meet the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) requirements
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration states that hard hats meet its requirements when the hard hat is right type and class for a certain hazardous area. The hat has to work against penetration, electrical shock and impact. It also need to go through testing requirements and be compliant with ANSI.
ANSI sorts hard hats into two types, type I and II. The first type only protects the top of the head. The second protects the top and sides of the head.
Beyond these two categories, there are also three classes. These are:
- Class G: hats rated for up to 2,200 volts
- Class E: hats rated for 20,000 volts
- Class C: hats without electrical protection
Choosing the right hard hat for your specific workplace will mean knowing if there is a risk of electrocution and how much voltage could be involved.
How often should hard hats be replaced?
Hard hats are normally replaced every five years. The strap on the hat should be replaced annually, since it could wear down.
Remember, though that any hat that has been impacted should be inspected. Any damage, whether it’s a scratch, dent, penetration mark or squeaking sound usually means that the hat needs to be replaced.
Safety protocols in your workplace may require specific hard hats. If you are hurt because the hat you had was not the right type, then you may be able to hold your employer responsible for your injuries and seek workers’ compensation.