Hard hat vs. safety helmets: What's the difference?

June 11, 2019

The short answer: better protection and fit.

In the last four or five years, the 40+-year-old traditional “hard hat" design has been transitioning into a “safety helmet.” This transition brings some much-needed upgrades to one of the most used personal protective equipment pieces on the job – and for good reason.

Even in mandated hard hat areas, workers may have sub-par PPE options that aren’t worn or aren’t sufficient in the workplace because of poor and uncomfortable fit, accessories that are difficult to use together, and suspension systems that are confusing for the user to put together. If that’s the case, compliance could end up being a big problem, thereby increasing the potential for injury.

Bottom line – the hard hat hasn’t seen design innovation in decades, and with concerns like the ones above, it could be time to replace your hard hat for a safety helmet.

Let’s talk safety helmets

The concept behind better protection and fit for head protection isn’t new – it’s been around for years in the sporting world.

In fact, the same protection methods used in mountain climbing, biking, and other sports have been worked into the safety helmet design, with some featuring better side impact protection and a more secure and ergonomic fit for the wearer’s head. The idea is that these upgrades will offer better functionality and comfort for head protection that’s used on the job – just like it does for sport-lovers and athletes.

Additional features, such as an adjustable chin strap, are included on some safety helmets to keep the PPE secure to the head in dangerous situations (for example, a fall from a ladder or scaffolding). Just like hard hats, safety helmets will continue to have attachable hearing protection and face shields, although better options are now on the table, as are better suspension systems for a more comfortable fit.

Learn more about the upgrades

To see what really sets safety helmets apart, check out our safety helmet family, Ceros® - reinvented head protection that delivers on our Wearability® promise – compliance without compromise.

With a premium preassembled six-point suspension system for 360-degree padded comfort, all Ceros® safety helmets include a lightweight, low-profile ergonomic fit for a balanced center of gravity.

Plus, there are options for a magnetic integrated accessory system and anti-fog and scratch-resistant face shield coatings.


Hard Hat vs. Safety Helmets: What's the Difference


The most important aspect to remember about all safety helmets is that they must provide you with the means to keep workers safe on the job, meeting both OSHA and ANSI (or otherwise) standards and aligning with worker application and environment. As long as you have that understanding, you’ll help to mitigate injury on the job.

HexArmor® can help

If you need help to find the right safety helmet for you, HexArmor® can help. With innovation and design in mind, we’ve reinvented the protection that saves your best asset: your head.

HexArmor's Ceros® family of safety helmets bring you thoughtful, reimagined head protection with more comfort, more stability, more style, more safety. Learn more about HexArmor's safety helmet technology.

Let us know if you have questions or would like to start a trial - our Solution Specialists are ready to work with you. Call 1-877-MY ARMOR or send us a message.

Browse HexArmor's Ceros® safety helmets

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