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Hard Hat Selection and Usage


  • Considerations
  • Details and Applications
  • Job Site or Work Environment
  • To choose the right hard hat, your first consideration is what type of work environment you will be in. Note the potential hazards and where they come from to help you determine the best hard hat choice. Some environments need protection from above only, others may also require lateral protection. Exposure to different types of hazards is also important in your hard hat selection.
  • Hard Hat Rating
    • Type 1 Hard Hat: Intended to protect from impact from above only.
    • Type 2 Hard Hat: Slightly heavier and bigger and made to protect the head from above and from side impact as well.
  • Electricity
  • If you will be in an area that involves electrical current you will also need to assess your level of possible exposure for electricity.
    • Class G: General, protect up to 2,2k volts.
    • Class E: Electrical, protect up to 20k volts.
    • Class C: Conducive, no protection from electrical current.
  • Hard Hat Suspension Type
    • Pin-Lock Suspension: Locking mechanism is similar to a typical belt, adjusting the hat by placing a pin in the appropriate hole.
    • Ratchet Suspension: A ratchet suspension system uses a knob that can be turned to quickly tighten or loosen the hat. With this type of system, the hard hat does not have to be removed from your head to be adjusted.
  • Suspension Points
  • Hard hats typically come in 4, 6, or 8 suspension points. The higher number of suspension points built into the hat the better ability it has to spread the force of an impact and reduce injury. i.e. Hard hats with 8 suspension points are typically safer.
  • Hard Hat Material
    • Plastic: This is the most common material used in hard hats and is typically made of high-density polyethylene (HDPE).
    • Fiberglass: Fiberglass hard hats are expected in areas where workers are exposed to molten metal so their heads are protected from the additional heat.
    • Plastic: This is the most common material used in hard hats and is fairly lightweight.


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