Head protection will be furnished to, and used by, all employees and contractors engaged in construction and other miscellaneous work. Head protection must also be worn by engineers, inspectors, and visitors at constructionsites when hazards fromfalling or fixed objects, or electrical shock are present. Bump caps/skull guards will be issued and worn for protection against scalp lacerations fromcontact with sharp objects. However, they will not be worn as substitutes for safety caps/hats because they do not provide protection fromhigh impact forces or penetration by falling objects. In general, protective helmets or hard hats should resist penetration by object, be water resistant and slow burning, bsorbthe shock of a blow, and come with instructions explaining proper adjustment and replacement of the suspension and headband. Hard hats require a hard outer shell and a shock-absorbing lining. The lining should incorporate a headband and straps that suspendthe shell from 1 to 1 ¼ inches away from the users head. This design provides shock absorption during impact and ventilation during use. Protective helmets purchased after July 5, 1994, must comply with ANSI Z89.1-1986, those purchased before this date must meet the ANSI Z89.1-1969 standard. Employers should train their employees in the proper use and maintenance of the hats including daily inspections. This will help to prolongthe helmets effective useand save the employer money from purchasing new helmets frequently. If employees identify any of the following defects, remove the hard hats fromservice:
- The suspension system shows signs of deterioration such as cracking, tearing, or fraying
- The suspension system no longer holds the shell from1 to 1 ¼ inches away fromthe employee’s head.
- The brimis cracked, perforated, or deformed.
- The brimor shell shows signs of exposure toheat, chemicals, ultraviolet light, or other radiation.
Selection guidelines for head protection
All head protection (helmets) is designed to provide protection from impact and penetration hazards caused by falling objects. Head protection is also available which provides protection from electric shock and burn. When selecting head protection, knowledge of potential electrical hazards is important. Class A helmets, in addition to impact and penetration resistance, provide electrical protection from low-voltage conductors (they are proof tested to 2,200 volts). Class B helmets, in addition to impact and penetration resistance, provide electrical protection from high- voltage conductors (they are proof tested to 20,000 volts). Class C helmets provide impact and penetration resistance (they are usually made of aluminum which conducts electricity), and should not be used around electrical hazards.
Where falling object hazards are present, helmets must be worn. Some examples include:
- working below other workers who are using tools and materials which could fall;
- working around or under conveyor belts which are carrying parts or materials’
- working below machinery or processes which might cause material or objects to fall; and
- working on exposed energized conductors.