Unsure what kind of safety helmet you need? What helmets comply with what standard? Where to start? We want to make sure staying compliant is second nature, especially when it comes to keeping your head safe. There’s a lot to know and a lot to pay attention to when it comes to safety helmets, but don’t worry – we’ve done the research for you. In this blog, we’ll dig into OSHA, ANSI, EN, and CSA standards.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) mandates specific requirements for head protection in the workplace and instructs that, regardless of industry, it’s the employer’s job to ensure their workers wear head protection when exposed to risks/hazards. To help employers follow those regulations, OSHA incorporates standards from the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), which is discussed in the next section.
Here’s what you need to know about OSHA’s head protection regulations.
Safety Helmet Standards: OSHA has two standards that regulate safety helmet requirements:
Safety Helmet Requirements: Both standards require workers to wear safety helmets if they are at risk of being struck by falling objects, bumping their heads on fixed objects, or coming in contact with electrical hazards.
OSHA requires selection criteria for head protection that must comply with ANSI/ISEA Z89.1. Simply put – a helmet that meets ANSI Z89.1 is OSHA compliant.
ANSI helps employers follow OSHA regulations. The performance criteria for head protection is provided in ANSI Z89.1 American National Standard for Industrial Head Protection, which is incorporated in OSHA’s 29 CFR 1910.135 and by reference in 29 CFR 1910.6. ANSI Z89.1 requires four performance tests that must be met in order to assign a safety helmet type and class, which are:
Safety Helmet Types: There are two types of protective safety helmets under this classification system that refer to impact/penetration protection:
Safety Helmet Classes: To improve comprehension and usefulness, there are electrical-protective classifications for helmets as follows:
Operating Temperature Range:
Additionally, all safety helmets must feature a hard-outer shell and a lining that absorbs shock and incorporates a headband. Straps should suspend from the shell about 1-1¼ inches.
It is important to know that all safety helmets that adhere to ANSI/ISEA standards should be permanently marked with the manufacturer, the date of manufacture, ANSI designation, the Type and Class designation, and the head size range on the inside of the helmet shell. If your current safety helmet label is missing or is no longer legible, it is recommended that you replace your safety helmet as soon as possible.
EN 397: The European standard code of practice (EN 397) provides guidance for manufacturers of safety helmets to ensure that minimum material grades are used. It also establishes the requirements for the testing of safety helmets, as safety helmets must be designed to protect the wearer from falling objects. Such protections safeguard the user against possible consequences such as brain injuries or skull fractures. The standard also includes protection against lateral deformation of the helmet.
The helmet will comprise of two main parts – the hard outer protective shell and the inner harness. All helmets certified according to EN 397 must meet these requirements:
Additional specifications are provided for ear muff attachment points and chin strap attachment points.
EN 50365: Standard covers insulating helmets aimed at use on low voltage installations, which must provide protection against electric shocks and prevention of dangerous electric current passing through the head. Requirements include:
EN 14052: Standard covers high performance industrial helmets, which must provide protection against falling objects and lateral impact along with the resulting damage to the brain, skull, and neck. Requirements include:
EN 12492: Helmets for mountaineers must provide protection against hazards that may occur during activities undertaken by mountaineers. Requirements include:
The performance criteria for head protection in Canada is provided in the Canadian Standards Association (CSA) Industrial Protective Headwear, Z94.1 that applies to the selection, maintenance, and use of industrial safety helmets in the construction, mining, public utilities, and forestry sectors. Along with optional tests, such as for reverse orientation, CSA Z94.1 requires six performance tests that must be met in order to assign a safety helmet type and class, which are:
Safety Helmet Types: The CSA Standard (Z94.1) tests for Type 1 and Type 2 safety helmets include dielectric strength, impact attenuation, penetration resistance, passive retention, shell flammability, and liner ignition resistance (typically only Type 2 for lateral impact).
Safety Helmet Classes: To improve comprehension and usefulness, the following designations refer to impact and penetration protection:
The Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) is an agency under the Department of Labor that works to prevent illness, injury, and death by promoting safe work practices for U.S. miners.
Like OSHA, the agency’s regulatory authority is derived from a specific law, which the agency in turn enforces. MSHA carries out provisions of the Federal Mine Safety and Health Act of 1977, as well as administers the Mine Improvement and Emergency Response Act of 2006, which further expanded requirements and sanctions for mines.
Mining Safety Helmet Standards: Regarding protective clothing requirements, MSHA has their own PPE standard under 77.1710, and Section (d) specifies the need for head protection from falling objects and to protect miners against electrical shock or burn.
Not all hard hats – or safety helmets – are created equal. Hard hats are being adapted into the more modern safety helmet that is designed for the ultimate safety head covering, putting an innovative spin on one of the most frequently used forms of PPE.
Up your protection with HexArmor®, and check out our safety helmet series, Ceros®. With innovation and design in mind, we’ve reinvented the protection that saves your best asset: your head. With a pre-assembled six-point premium suspension system for 360-degree padded comfort, all Ceros® safety helmets include a lightweight, low-profile ergonomic fit and stability for a balanced center of gravity. Plus, there are options for a magnetic integrated accessory system with anti-fog and scratch-resistant face shield coatings.
Are you using the right safety equipment? Put your head protection to the test and discover how the safety helmet industry is changing for the better.Learn More About Ceros Safety Helmet Technology