If you work on a construction site, it’s important that you take steps to protect yourself. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has hard hat regulations in place that are designed to keep you safe when there is a risk of falling objects, electrocution or flying debris in your workplace. If you are facing safety hazards on the job, your hard hat could make the difference between getting hit and not suffering a head injury and leaving the workplace in an ambulance.
Hard hats are helmets designed to prevent head injuries. Different hard hats have various benefits or drawbacks depending on what they’re meant to be used for.
Hard hats need to:
- Be water-resistant
- Be slow to burn
- Be able to absorb shock from a blow to the head
- Resist penetration
Hard hats aren’t required in every workplace, but when they are, they should be ANSI and OSHA approved. Inside a hard hat, you will find information that details what kind of hat it is, its size, its date of manufacture and the manufacturer’s name. There may be additional marks to let you know if the hat is designed for high visibility or lower temperatures.
When will a hard hat meet OSHA’s requirements?
Hard hats only meet OSHA’s requirements when the hat:
- Has gone through testing requirements to be sure that it is OSHA compliant. This includes routine testing by the manufacturer as well as employer testing
- Has a design proven to protect against electrical shock, penetration and impact
- Is classed (by ANSI) for the specific conditions in which the person is working
If your hard hat is not rated for the hazards you’re working with or has been previously damaged, it’s time to get a new hard hat that does meet the requirements. Doing so will help you better protect yourself against bumps and impacts that are common in the workplace. If you work with electricity, the right hard hat could help minimize your risk as well.
If you’re hurt because a hard hat was not right for the conditions, your employer may be responsible. You may have a right to seek workers’ compensation as a result.