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 states that safety helmets should:
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 away from the worker’s head. All safety helmets should be labeled inside the shell listing the manufacturer, ANSI designation, and class of the hat.
OSHA standards do not have mandated rules regarding specific occupations or applications where a safety helmet is required. Appendix B provides examples where head protection should be routinely considered, such as carpenters, electricians, lineman, mechanics and repairers, plumbers and pipe fitters, assemblers, packers, wrappers, sawyers, welders, laborers, freight handlers, timber cutting and logging, stock handlers, and warehouse laborers.
As mentioned previously, ANSI works with OSHA to help 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. Simply put – a helmet that meets ANSI Z89.1 is OSHA compliant.
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:
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. The selection of safety helmets is based on a risk analysis performed according to the work context and compatibility with the other equipment. The CSA standard also has optional tests, such as tests for reverse orientation.
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:
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