OSHA requires hardhats be worn whenever there is a threat of head injury from objects falling from above and striking employees on the head, they might bump their heads against fixed pipes or beans, or there is possibility of accidental contact with electrical hazards. Hard hats must be worn with the bill forward to protect employees properly. In general, protective helmets or hard hats should do the following:
Protective headgear must meet ANSI Standard Z89.1-1986 (Protective Headgear for Industrial Workers) or provide an equivalent level of protection. Helmets purchased before July 5, 1994 must comply with the earlier ANSI Standard (Z89.1-1969) or provide equivalent protection.
Hard hats are divided into three industrial classes:
Hard hats with any of the following defects should be removed from service and replaced:
Always replace a hard hat if it sustains an impact, even if damage is not noticeable. Suspension systems are offered as replacement parts and should be replaced when damaged or when excessive wear is noticed. It is not necessary to replace the entire hard hat when deterioration or tears of the suspension systems are noticed.
Prominently display “Hard Hat Area” signs. Workers, contractors and visitors to the site must adhere to the rule.
American National Standards Institute
Copies of ANSI Standards may be purchased by contacting them at:
Attn: Customer Service
11 West 42nd St.
New York, NY 10036
P: (212) 642-4900
F: (212) 398-0023
OSHA Standard 29 CFR 1910.135, "Head Protection"
U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Safety and Health Administration. OSHA 3151-12R, 2003, pages 16-19, Personal Protective Equipment