5 Tips when selecting a Hard Hat
Hard hat design and technology has improved significantly over the years. Workers now have a wide variety of head protection to choose from. While hard hats definitely aren't a fashion statement, they are a requirement for all workers where there is a risk of electrical shock, burns or impact from falling or flying objects. Common workplace environments that typically require hard hats are: construction, mining, forestry, manufacturing and many other types of work.
What makes a hard hat protect the worker?
Hard Hats are made up of two primary parts. The shell is the outer part made of plastic or fiberglas. It provides the impact protection required by ANSI. It also serves as the visible sign that the worker is protected. Colors identify the type of worker on the job as well. The other part that makes up a hard hat is the headgear. Also known as the suspension, this is the bridge between the worker and the shell. It is designed to absorb the energy of impact when an object strikes the shell. This will help reduce the potential injury. It also offers comfort, adjustability.
Head Injuries are on the increase
Even though the design and comfort of hard hats have improved, head injuries that cause lost time from work was up almost 5% from just a couple years ago. These injuries can be serious and impact quality of life for workers. It also increases costs to employers. Everyone want a healthy worker and OSHA requires the employer to oversee and provide head protection for all workers exposed to these types of potential injuries. We've included 5 tips you should consider when searching and purchasing a hard hat for your employee.
Here are the 5 tips
Tip #1 - Select a hard hat that offers a comfortable fit - It makes sense that the more comfortable the hard hat is, the more likely it will stay on the workers head. With today's innovations in head gear and composite materials, hard hats have never been more comfortable. Be sure to consider hard hats that have ample webbing built into the suspension and some sort of padding to offer maximum comfort
Tip #2 - Select a hard hat made from newer, lighter materials - As mentioned above, composite materials and even ABS plastics are durable enough to exceed ANSI requirements for impact yet they offer the added benefit of being light-weight. Look for hats that are made of light-weight materials when purchasing your hard hat.
Tip #3 - Select a hard hat that is Ansi Approved - Any hard hat, without exception, must be ANSI Z89.1-2014 approved. Industrial head protection are classified as Type 1 for top protection and Type ll for lateral impact. There are also several class ratings including "G" for general, "E" for electrical and "C" for conductive. Be sure to read the standard, analyze your work environment and select the appropriate type and class hard hat for your needs.
Tip #4 - Select a hard hat that offers an adjustable personalized fit - The key to user acceptance is comfort. light-weight hard hats are less cumbersome but if it doesn't fit right it will spend more time in their gang box, locker or work-bench than on their head. Good head-gear allows the user to adjust the size and position for optimum comfort and performance. Features like padding around the forehead or ratchet style head-gear and absorbent material all add to the comfort and adjustability and ultimately acceptance.
Tip #5 - Select a hard hat that is accessory ready - Many users are required to include face protection or hearing protection while they wear a hard hat. Many hard hats include accessory slots that can be used for those needed accessories. Be sure to consider those requirements when you purchase your next hard hat.