Hard Hat Types & Classes- Everything You need to Know.
- One of the more important safety products is the hard hat. Different jobs & tasks require a different type of hard hat. Electricians wear a different type of hard hat than someone who is in construction. There are ratings for each type of hard hat.
- Hard hats that are considered to be “OSHA approved” meet the minimum criteria established by the American National Standards (ANSI) and the International Safety Equipment Association (ISEA), in accordance with the most current ANSI/ISEA Z89.1-2014 standard.
- According to the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA), a hard hat must be worn “when working in areas where there is a potential for injury to the head from falling objects.” In addition, a hard hat must also be worn in working areas where there is the risk of exposure to electrical conductors that can potentially contact the head.
According to ANSI/ISEA Z89.1-2014 and Canadian CSA Z94.1-2005 standards, hard hat electrical performance is divided into three categories: Class E, Electrical; Class G, General, and; Class C, Conductive.
Class E (Electrical) Hard Hats are designed to reduce exposure to high voltage conductors, and offer dielectric protection up to 20,000 volts (phase to ground). This amount of voltage protection, however, is designated to the head only, and is not an indication of voltage protection allocated to the user as a whole. The MSA Topgard® Hard (See on right) Hat is an example of a hard hat used by utility workers who are commonly exposed to high voltage environments on a daily basis. Formerly associated with a "Class B" rating, Class E hard hats may also be considered to have a Class G (General) rating, as their increased level of voltage protection surpasses the (lower) required standards of the Glass G testing procedure.
Class G (General) Hard Hats are designed to reduce exposure to low voltage conductors, and offer dielectric protection up to 2,200 volts (phase to ground). As is the case with Class E hard hats, this amount of voltage protection is designated to the head only, and does not account for voltage protection allocated to the user as a whole. The MSA Skullgard Hard Hat is an example of a Class G hard hat commonly worn by iron workers who require a certain degree of dielectric protection. Formerly categorized as "Class A," the Class G hard hat is the most commonly sold hard hat style by Cooper Safety Supply.
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Class C (Conductive) Hard Hats differ from their counterparts in that they are not intended to provide protection against contact with electrical conductors. On the contrary, Class C hard hats may include vented options, such as the MSA V-Gard 500 Hard Hat , which not only protect the wearer from impact, but also provide increased breathability through their conductive material (such as aluminum) or added ventilation.
How can I identify the type and class of my current hard hat?
It is important to know that all hard hats that adhere to ANSI/ISEA standards contain a label of certification on the inside of the hard hat shell. This label identifies the type and class standards the hard hat was designed to meet. If your current hard hat label is missing or is no longer legible, it is recommended that you replace your hard hat as soon as possible.
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Three Non-Mandatory Tests for Features outlined in ANSI/ISEA
FACT: According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics more than 76,000 of the 1.2 million workplace injuries requiring at least one day away from work in 2010 were because of occupational head injuries.