Head protection is one of the fundamental components of employee safety. This is because some employees normally work in areas that are risky as far as head injuries are concerned. To prevent the chances of hard objects hitting your head in your line of duty, you should consider wearing a hard hat. Occupation Health and Safety Act or what is commonly known as OSHA rules, has approved head hat.
Currently, OSHA hard hats regulations are in place to ensure that employees get the much-needed head protection whenever they are in their respective workplaces. This article will outline the various OSHA hard hat rules and the requirements that the hard hats should meet. Besides these specific regulations, there are ANSI (American National Standards Institute) components that we shall look at as well.
A hard hat basically a helmet that is won by employees are working in order to prevent head injuries. Some of these injuries might be as a result of falling objects, debris, and even harsh weather elements. Also, this helmet will ensure that the worker remains safe from splashes and UV light. The helmets have proved to be very effective in preventing electrical hazards and so forth.
Qualities of a Good Hard Hat
A good hard hat should have the following qualities:
- Be water-resistant and slow to burn
- It should be able to absorb shock caused by blow to the head
- Be resistant to penetration by either falling or stationary objects.
Besides the above-mentioned qualities, the helmet should have other features such as;
- It should have clear instructions explaining how one should wear it and even make the necessary adjustments.
- The head protection should have a hard outer shell.
- Shock-absorbing lining with a headband and suspension straps that suspend the shell between 2.54 and 3.18 centimeters away from the head.
What are The OSHA Hard Hat Rules & Requirements?
There are certain parameters that the OSHA hard hat rules should meet. These include:
- The hard hat should be the type and class (ANSI) for specific hazardous conditions
- It’s design should perform against penetration, impact and electrical shock
- The head hat should undergo testing in order to ensure that it is OSHA compliant. Apart from the manufacturer’s routine testing, employers should also test to ensure that the hard hat is fully compliant.
What Are ANSI Hard Hat Rules & Requirements?
Before we dive into the ANSI hard hat requirements, there is a need to know the various types of hard hats and their respective classes. You will note that the classes are usually based on the varying levels of electrical hazard protection offered. Ideally, your hard hat should meet one of the two types, which include:
Type 1: Hard hats within this category are able to offer protection to the top of the head.
Type 2: Hard hats belonging to this category normally offer protection to both the top and sides of the head. Like mentioned above, the hard hat should meet one of these classes;
Class G: Generally, these are hard hats and are normally rated for 2200 volts. Such hats are also resistant to impact and penetration.
Class E: Hard hats belonging to this class are usually electrical hard hats and are normally rated for 20000 volts. They can also offer protection from impacts and penetration when in use.
Class C: To start with, these hats are not ANSI approved. These are conductive hard hats and normally offer no electrical protection at all. They are generally lightweight and usually offer protection against minimal impacts. They are commonly known as bump hats as they usually protect workers from bumping their heads on low overhead clearances.
How Long Is A Hard Hat Good For?
It is important to bear in mind that OSHA hard hat rules replacement requirement should be considered whenever your hard hat cracks of gets dented. Also, when your helmet starts becoming water resistant or wears out due to rough treatment, there is a need to replace it. This is because if you continue using it in its current state, your head might be at risk.
You will note that OSHA hard hat expiration date does not exist. However, manufacturers might set a particular date for expiration. In most cases, you should replace your hard hat after using it for 5 years. However, the support strap should be replace annually.
Remember that harsh chemicals extreme temperatures can make the hard hat degrade fast. Therefore, you should ensure that you check with the manufacturer for guidelines on how you should replace and maintain the helmet.
The hard hat might expire if OSHA adopts more rigorous requirements. To be on the safe side, you should check OSHA standards for changes that might require your PPE to be updated.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Should the hard hat be inspected often?
Yes. The hard hat should be inspected every time they are used. Here, they should be inspected for any damages that might make the hat less effective and thus non-compliant as far as OSHA rules & regulations are concerned.
Besides the visual inspection, the helmet should be a squeeze with two hands. If you hear some squeaking or unusual sounds, chances are the hard hat is damaged and time is ripe for you to replace it.
Does My Hard Hat meet ANSI rules & requirements?
It is important to note that each revision of the ANSI Z89.1 standard usually has a specific labeling requirements for each hard hat. Each and every hard hat should have the following information clearly marked inside the hat:
- The name of the manufacturer
- ANSI standard that the hard hat conforms with. A good example is ANSI Z89. 1-2009.
- The ANSI type. This can either be Type 1 or Type II and its class designation (G,E,C)
- Size range for fitting
- The date of manufacture
In case the hard hat meets Z89.1-2009, it should contain the following information:
- Two arrows curving to form a circle, whenever the hat is won either forwards or backwards
- LT-This shows the helmet is designed to provide the much needed protection even when one is working under low temperatures such as 22 degrees Fahrenheit
- HV-This indicates that the helmet meets all the requirements for high visibility.
What are some of the beneficial labels that you should put on the hard hat?
Some of the beneficial labels that you can put on the hard hat include titles, names, and certifications. By labeling the hard hat, you will be able to identify workers in case there is an emergency. Certifications on the other hand can help identify when workers are authorized to work in a certain area. As long as these labels are used strategically, you will be good to go.
Should I replace labels on my hard hat?
Although ANSI Z89.1 does not essentially restrict the application of hard hat labels, OSHA standard 1910.132(a) requires that the helmet be maintained in a sanitary and reliable condition. In fact, OSHA explains that labels and paints might actually eliminate the much-needed electrical resistance and can lead to cracking, penetration, and other damages that might render it ineffective.
If you have to use any labels on the helmet, you should ensure that they comply with the manufacturer’s instructions. More to that, you should demonstrate that the labels you put on the helmet do not affect its reliability. Therefore, as long as the labels do not adversely affect the helmet’s proactive rating you can go ahead and put them on the hard hat.
The hard hat is one of the vital personal protective equipment that you should have in the workplace. Ideally, it should meet the above mentioned OSHA requirements so that you can remain safe when working. This way, you will be able to work well in areas where you are prone to head injuries such as construction sites, mining sites, and in areas where welding is done.
Consider investing in an OSHA hard hat rules compliant hard hat today and you will be able to optimize your head safety when working.