Head protection is arguably the most important piece of personal protective equipment (PPE) worn by construction workers when you consider the serious implications and severe ramifications of head injuries. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has established rules and regulations governing the use of suitable protective headgear that helps prevent the majority of on-site head injuries.
In part one of this three-part series, the OSHA defense lawyers at Cotney Construction Law discussed when to wear protective headgear and the OSHA-compliant qualities of protective headgear. In part two, we will discuss different types of hard hats.
Types of Hard Hats
Today’s marketplace of construction PPE is stocked with different types of hard hats with special features and characteristics to protect workers in an array of conditions. Your team’s protective headgear should meet American National Standards Institute (ANSI) qualifications and provide suitable protection against any potential workplace hazards including falling objects and electrical shocks. Hard hats are classified in one of three industrial classes:
Class A: The standard when it comes to everyday protection, Class A hard hats offer the wearer impact and penetration resistance. With up to 2,200 volts of voltage protection, these versatile hard hats combine protection with function to keep workers safe and comfortable.
Class B: These hard hats provide superior protection to both Class A and Class C protective headgear. Class B hard hats can protect the wearer from high-voltage shocks and burns up to 20,000 volts. They also utilize a sturdy plastic construction to protect the wearer from impacts and penetrations.
Class C: These lightweight hard hats are the most comfortable of the three classes of hard hats, but they don’t offer the same level of protection to the wearer. Class C hard hats do not protect the wearer from electrical hazards.
It’s important to utilize the correct class of hard hat on your project site. In addition to these three classes of hard hats, there is another class of protective headgear referred to as a “bump hat.” They are designed to be worn in areas with low head clearance and provide a simple solution for those looking to quickly survey a project site. However, they do not protect the wearer from falling hazards or flying objects, and they are not approved by ANSI. You should always perform physical inspections of your employee’s protective headgear. Every hard hat should contain a label listing the manufacturer, ANSI designation, and hard hat class.
Is your team maintaining compliance with OSHA standards? Failing to recognize the rules and regulations for protective headgear could result in an OSHA citation. In part three, our OSHA defense lawyers will examine the size and care considerations for protective headgear.
Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.