June 12, 2019

You wouldn’t wear sandals to work on a construction site or latex gloves on a recycling line full of sharp objects, right? The style and fit of your PPE matters, and it’s the same with your safety helmet. Most safety helmets come in a one-size-fits-all shell, with the ability to adjust the built-in suspension system, as well as options for a chin strap, ventilation, and more, to take your fit – and safety – to the next level.

Wearing a safety helmet that is fitted and comfortable on your head is only the beginning – safety helmets need to fit for the task at hand while providing the user with a suitable level of protection against physical factors. Let’s dig into how a safety helmet must be properly selected, fitted, and used.

Match the Safety Helmet to Your Job Task

To help choose the safety helmet that’s right for you or your workers, your employer should undertake a comprehensive risk assessment to establish the need for head protection within your work area, as well as to determine its suitability. The characteristics of the risk factors identified in the risk assessment and for which protection is needed may include vertical impact, lateral impacts, and transverse compression forces.

It is important to note that all required and/or necessary PPE should be used in addition to implementing other controls and trainings. If a safety helmet is needed, there are two different types available:

  1. Type 1 – The most common form of head PPE designed to reduce the force of impact resulting from a blow to the top of the head
  2. Type 2 – Provides a higher degree of protection than Type 1 safety helmets, designed to reduce the force of impact resulting from a blow to the top, front, back, and sides of the head

Additionally, safety helmets can also serve as a platform for other kinds of PPE that may be required, such as hearing protection, face shields, or respiratory protection equipment; understand if those accessories are needed at your location and whether or not you can use them in conjunction with your safety helmet.

To learn more about the standards and types of safety helmets, check out this blog.

The Need for a Solid Suspension System

When donned, a safety helmet’s outer shell doesn’t fit snug against your head; there’s a gap between the top of the head and the top of the headwear via a built-in suspension system. This acts as a shock-absorption system for protection against impact and allows some breathing room for airflow to keep you cool while you work.

Many models are designed to be adjusted to the user’s head size. The suspension and chin straps (if needed) can and should be adjusted so that the helmet sits securely and comfortably on the wearer’s head.

  • Height can be adjusted with the variable slots (found in the rear of the suspension system) to optimize comfort
  • Tightness can be adjusted with an attached wheel ratchet to ensure a snug fit, but not so tight that it causes discomfort or irritation
  • Always wear your safety helmet with the brim of the helmet facing forward, unless the safety helmet is labeled with a reverse donning symbol indicating you have an option to wear in forward or backward positions
  • Skin abrasions of any kind are a sign that you are not wearing your safety helmet at an appropriate size

Other Safety Helmet Considerations

Because safety helmets are required for all kinds of job tasks, several other factors will help point you in the right direction for properly selecting your type of helmet.

Operating temperature range:

  • Basic temperature applications from -18°C (0°F) to 49°C (120°F) – No special marking on the helmet
  • Low-temperature applications down to -30°C (-22°F) – Labeling on the helmet “LT”
  • High-temperature applications up to 60°C (140°F) – Labeling on the helmet “HT”

Exposure to risk of electrical hazards:

Electrical hazards – Labeling on the helmet indicating Class G, E, or C

  • Class G (General) Helmets – Designed to reduce the danger of contact with low-voltage conductors and are proof tested at 2200 volts
  • Class E (Electrical) Helmets – Designed to reduce the danger of contact with higher voltage conductors and are proof tested at 20000 volts
  • Class C (Conductive) Helmets – Not intended to provide protection from contact with electrical hazards

Performing tasks where helmet can fall from the head:

  • If a task performed can cause the helmet to fall off a worker’s head, then a helmet should be selected with a chin strap or a specially formed headband

Are You Wearing the Right Safety Helmet?

By following these steps as well as any manufacturer instructions specific to your equipment, you'll know how to properly wear any safety helmet presented to you at a work site. At the end of the day, having the right equipment can help protect yourself and others from unexpected accidents in the workplace.

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.

Learn More About Ceros Safety Helmet Technology