The Ultimate Guide To Hard Hats

02/03/2017
by Safety Mart

A hard hat is a protective helmet which is expected to be worn on the head of all factory, carpenter, scaffolding, and building workers. All workers within these industries are required to wear a hard hat solely for their protection and safety whilst at work. In fact, hard hats are required to be worn wherever there is the potential for injury to the head from any falling objects.


Hard hats are also designed to reduce electrical shock, and are required to be worn when working near exposed electrical conductors. These special hats are particularly very useful in workplace environments such as industrial or construction sites. Above all, Bullard hard hats are a leading top brand of hard hats which many workers rely on for protection and safety each day!


Here we have provided you with the ultimate guide to purchasing and maintaining your hard hat!


The History Of Hard Hats

To start, lets have a quick look into the history of hard hats! Hard hats have quite a long history dating back to 1898 when the E.D. Bullard Company, a veteran of industrial safety, started selling protective hats made of leather. This company thought of many new ideas to improve industrial safety.


It wasn't until 1919 that the company started selling hats made of made of steamed canvas, glue and black paint. During the same year, the U.S. Navy hired the Bullard company to create a shipyard protective cap. This is what led to the beginning of widespread use of hard hats all across the nation in many different fields of work. Up to this day, hard hats have been brilliant for the safety and protection of both construction and industrial workers.


When is it important to wear a hard hat?

It is particularly very important to wear a hard hat in a line of defense against any potential head injuries. Other times when wearing a hard hat is important includes working near exposed electrical wires, utility jobs, engineering jobs, construction jobs, industrial jobs, roofing jobs, scaffolding jobs, farming jobs, highway construction jobs, and of course standard jobs.


Different types of hard hats are available depending on which industry you work in, and the potential risks which your job puts you in danger of. Nothing is more important than protecting yourself from harm of the head, brain and eye areas. Because of this, it is extremely important to wear them to avoid serious injury to these body areas, as this is what they’re designed to do.


The OSHA And Head Protection

The OSHA head protection policy states that employees working in areas where there are possible dangers of any head injuries from impact, falling or flying objects, electrical shock or burns, shall be protected by protective helmets. In other words, these workers must wear hard hats.


OSHA makes rules that all employers are responsible for providing a safe and healthy workplace environment for their employees. This organization's role is to promote the safety and health of our nation's working men and women by setting and enforcing standards in the workplace. Employers must ensure that their employees wear head protection to prevent injuries.


Under the OSHA standards and rules, the perfect hard hat must have a hard outer shell and a shock-absorbing lining which incorporates a headband and straps that suspend the shell away from the head. Under their rules, a hard hat must be able to resist penetration by objects, be water-resistant and slow burning, have clear instructions explaining the proper adjustment and replacement of the suspension and headband, as well as absorb the shock of a blow.


The American National Standards Institute And Industrial Head Protection

The current American standard for hard hats is ISEA Z89.1-2009, by the International Safety Equipment Association that took over publication of the Z89 standard from ANSI. Industrial head protection helmets, meeting the requirements of this standard, are classified as Type I for top protection, or Type II for lateral impact protection.


ANSI/ISEA Z89.1-2014 was prepared by members of the ISEA Head Protection Group as a revision to ANSI Z89.1-2009, and approved by a consensus review panel of users, government agencies and safety experts. Key updates contained in this version include optional testing and marking features for head protection for use in high-temperature environments, as well as editorial revisions to clarify test procedures.


The Benefits Of Wearing Hard Hats

Obviously there are a variety of different benefits which come with wearing hard hats whilst working in an environment where potential head injuries are of risk. For a start, wearing a hard hat can protect your head from any falling objects or blunt forces by acting as a shield for your head, resulting in the reduction of an injury. Furthermore, hard hats can protect you from an electrical shock if working in the electrical industry, or can protect your head from flying debris if working in the construction industry.


Not only can hard hats protect workers from serious head injuries and fatal accidents caused by an incident such as a collision impact, but they can also save a worker's life.


Workplace Hazards Which Could Affect Someone Not Wearing A Hard Hat

Not wearing a hard hat can be severely dangerous and devastating, leading to traumatic brain injuries or even death. All kinds of hazards exist within a barricaded, a posted demolition or a construction area so a hard hat isn’t just an option, it is a necessity. There may be objects stored on shelves or platforms that have the potential to easily fall and cause head injury, or there might be overhead exposed energized conductors nearby. Also, there could be persons or operations where accidental dropping or loss of material, tools, equipment or other particles could lead to a head injury.


In most situations where head injuries occur, employers had not required their employees to wear head protection such as hard hats. The Bureau of Labor Statistics states that head injuries account for nine percent of all injuries to laborers. Wearing a hard hat backwards is also inappropriate.


Bullard Head Protection

When contemplating purchasing a hard hat, it is always great to consider a Bullard hard hat. With Bullard hard hats, you can choose from a wide array of great styles, colors, and designs which we have to offer here at SafetyMart. Some safety hard hat accessories that go well with the hats are also available, including brow pads, sunshades and cap shields.


Bullard hard hats are designed to provide protection for bumps and abrasions, with a combination of comfort and protection for any wearer.


The Types Of Hard Hats

There are two different types of hard hat for impact protection, which are Type I and Type II. The first type of hard hat is Type I which helps to reduce the force of impact caused by a blow, only to the top of the head. This type of impact could be a result from a nail gun or a hammer falling from above.


The second hard hat type is Type II which helps to reduce the force of lateral impact caused from a blow to the top of the head, off center or from the side. The benefits of this type meets both vertical and lateral impact and penetration requirements, and have foam inner liners made of expanded polystyrene EPS.


The Industrial Classes Of Hard Hats

Hard hats are divided into three different classes, giving employees and employers a choice so that they can purchase the best hard hat for their daily work. The first industrial class includes the Class E hard hats which are Electrical hard hats that can withstand up to 20,000 volts of electricity. The second class includes the Class G hard hats which are able to withstand 2,200 volts of electricity. The final class is the Class C hard hats which offer no protection from electric shock.


Most employers will provide their employees with the right class and type of hard hat to wear while working, but sometimes employees may be required to supply their own safety hard hat so it is always good to be aware of what industrial class and type of hat you need in case you’re the one who needs to make the purchase.


What To Consider When Choosing The Most Appropriate Hard Hat

Before choosing a hard hat, there are a few different factor which need to be taken into consideration in order to choose the most appropriate hard hat for you or your employees. The first thing to take into account is the type of job and type of work environment which you work in. This will help you to choose what rating of hard hat you will need, including the class and type of hard hat you will need. For example, if you work within the electrical industry, then it is best to consider purchasing the class E hard hat as this class of hat withstands the most volts of electricity.


When choosing a hard hat, you must make sure that your choice will not compromise the level of protection that you need. Because of this, you must ensure that you choose a safety hard hat with the right adjustment mechanism, the right amount of flexibility and suspension for the job that you work in, and has the required features which you need it to have to protect you.


Personalization Of The Hard Hat

In terms of personalizing your hard hat, it is common for stickers to be be used as a way of personalizing the hat and offering the a purpose of identification. Companies often sense a branding opportunity in this instance by putting the company's logo on the hard hat because after all, hard hats are one of the most recognizable pieces of safety equipment on site.


In general, stickers on hard hats don’t negatively affect any levels of safety as there is only little potential for their use to negatively affect the performance of the hat. However, sometimes the amount of stickers on a hard hat and the location of which the stickers have been placed may prevent workers from maintaining and inspecting their hard hat correctly. As a result, if personalizing your hard hat is something which you are interested in doing, then be sure to personalize it in a way that doesn’t affect the performance and the safety of your hat


Maintaining Your Hard Hat

By taking care of your hard hat, it can help to deliver you long service life. Ways of maintaining your hard hat include-


* Performing a general inspection of the hard hat

* Inspecting for Effects of UV Exposure

* Inspect the hard hats suspension

* Determining possible degradation of polyethylene shells

* Keeping the hard hat clean


If you feel that your hard hat needs replacing, then hard hats have a reasonable service life when used in normal work environments and being properly maintained. If you are ever in doubt about the use or maintenance of your hard hat, contact the manufacturer directly for instructions and recommendations.


Regular Cleaning Of The Hard Hat And Suspensions

Cleaning your hard hat is simple and easy and it does not take a lot of time either. In order to clean your hard hat, you must first remove the suspension from the hat, then wipe it down with only warm and mild soapy water, with use of a soft cloth to dry it.You should never use solvents or harsh chemicals to clean the hats. Cleaning your hard hat is a sanitary measure and will also prolong the use of the hard hat.


When Is It Time To Purchase A New Hat?

It is recommended that a regular head protection replacement program is conducted by employers as a responsive solution to the task of addressing service life of their hard hats or caps. Some people may work under the influence of employers that do not recommend these hats, but the person wears one for their own safety and therefore should consider this for their own being.


Some people may be independent contractors and wear one. If this is the case, then you must know when it is time for your hard hat to be replaced. A simple field test that can be performed by an employee will help you determine degradation of polyethylene shell of the hat. The service life of a hard hat is dependent on the type of job, work environment and performed regular maintenance.


When Do People Know When It Is Time To Purchase A New Suspension?

Suspensions should be replaced each year as regular maintenance. However, it is possible that there may be times before the year is up that it needs to be replaced, and this is when there is sight of any cracks, tears or loss of pliability. Also, if the points do not fit securely in the slots, then your hard hat needs replacing. Most employers do regular inspections on their safety equipment, and this action is highly recommended.


How Can Employers Train Their Employees About Hard Hats?

The law requires employers to provide their employees with safe workplaces. The OSHA regulations require employers to protect their employees from workplace hazards. Employers receive training from OSHA to train their employees about wearing protective equipment, the right type to wear, the requirements for safety and more.


Employers are trained in health and safety programs, and all information is passed on to their employees. Many employers hold special meetings and classes regarding safety equipment and rules of safety on the job. If you believe working conditions are unsafe or unhealthful, you may file a confidential complaint with OSHA.



Wearing a hard hat when working in the industrial or construction industry isn’t just a recommendation, but a necessity. Hard hats are a great solution to keeping yourself and your employees safe when working in hazardous and risk prone environments where severe head injuries or death could occur. Many dangers could come to those who don’t wear hard hats in these industries.


Not only is it important to wear a hard hat, but it is also important that you take into consideration the different types of hard hats and the different classes of hard hats that there is to offer in order for you to get the most appropriate hard hat for your safety. Bullard hard hats are a great brand of hard hats which are recommended by many!