Hard Hat Classes & Types According to ANSI

HARD HAT CLASSIFICATIONS & RATINGS

Hard Hat

What is a Hard Hat?

According to Wikipedia - A hard hat is a type of helmet predominantly used in workplace environments such as industrial or construction sites to protect the head from injury due to falling objects, impact with other objects, debris, rain, and electric shock.

Needless to say, it offers many benefits of which keeping the employees safe is paramount.


What are the Various Hard Hat Classes?

Although all safety helmets should provide equally strong protection for your noggin, not all classes of hard hats offer up the same types of shielding. The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) has classified these indispensable pieces of personal protection equipment into various categories to help wearers find the style that is best suited for their unique work environment. Whether one working around electrical hazards such as high voltage conductors or need full coverage from falling objects or debris, there is a class of these specially designed protective helmets that will most efficiently guard against the daily risks.


ANSI/ISEA (Z89.1-2009) Types of Hard Hats

ANSI divided protective helmets into different types and classes. This standard consists of Type 1 (Type i) and Type 2 (Type ii) Helmets.

Type I Hard Hats

They are characterised by a full brim around the entire hat.

Type II Hard Hats

They have a short brim only in the front. Type 2 hard hats are the dominant style in the field today.


ANSI Classes of Hard Hats (Z89.1-2009)

In terms of electrical performance, ANSI Z89.1-2009 recognizes three different classes:

Class A Hard Hats

provide protection against impact, penetration, and low-voltage electrical conductors. For certification, sample shells are proof-tested at 2,200 volts of electrical charge.

Class B Hard Hats

provide protection against impact, penetration, and high-voltage electrical conductors. Sample shells are proof-tested at 20,000 volts.

Class C Hard Hats

provide protection against impact and penetration only. Class C hard hats are usually made of aluminum, which is an electrical conductor, and therefore should not be used in situations involving electrical hazards.

Note: The voltage protection allocated in Classes A and B are not intended to be an indication of the voltage at which the headgear protects the wearer.

Hard hat commonly worn for impact protection are also tested for penetration resistance from blows to the top of the head, flammability resistance, and water absorption. Detailed testing requirements can be found in the detail of the standard.

ANSI Classes of Hard Hats (Z89.1-1997)

In 1997 ANSI published a revision to its Z89.1 head protection standard. The revision eliminated the old Type 1 and Type 2 design designations. In the revised standard, "Type" is used to designate whether a helmet provides protection strictly from blows to the top of the head (Type I) or protection from blows to both the top and sides of the head (Type II).

Z89.1-1997 also changed the alpha designations for hard hat class based on electrical performance.

Class G General Hard Hat (Also known as Class G Hard Hat)

This is equivalent to the old Class A. The Class G hard hat is proof-tested to offer dielectric protection from electrical shock of up to 2,200 volts.

Class E Electrical Hard Hats (Also known as Class E Hard Hats)

This is equivalent to the old Class B. Class E helmets are proof-tested to offer dielectric protection from various electrical shock hazards of up to 20,000 volts.

Class C Conductive Hard Hat

Class C Conductive Hard Hats provide no electrical insulation; the alpha designation did not change from the old standard. That said, these hats are designed to protect the wearer from impact hazards such as those caused by falling debris.


Frequently Asked Questions About Hard Hats


Who uses Hard Hats?

A hard hat is primarily worn by utility workers, iron workers and others who are commonly exposed to high voltage environments, or work in construction sites, manufacturing facilities, and mining operations where the likelihood for impact hazards is at its highest!


Is there a way to identify hard hat classes on my own?

Yes, definitely. While all hard hats differ in the level of impact protection and electrical protection they offer, you can easily identify their class by looking for the label of certification on the inside of the hard hat shell. Please note, that only the hard hats that adhere to ANSI/ISEA standards have this label.

Once you check the label, you can easily identify the type and class standards the hard hat was designed to meet. If on inspection, it does not seem to be the most appropriate hard hat to offer protection to you or your utility workers, we strongly advise replacing the same at the earliest possible.


What are OSHA approved hard hats?

The minimum criteria established for an OSHA-approved hard hat is that it should meet ANSI Z89.1. 29 CFR 1910.135(b)(1) and 29 CFR 1926.100(b)(1). Moreover, OSHA states that the head protection gear must meet 1997, 2003, or 2009 editions of ANSI Z89.1, or be shown to offer equivalent or better protection.

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