Hard Hat Classifications

The Occupational Safety & Health Administration requires hard hats to be worn on any worksite where there is potential for falling objects, debris, or hazards to injure workers, or where electrical conductors may make contact with a worker’s head. OSHA-approved hard hats have specific qualities that protect workers from such harm. Different worksites lend themselves to different hard hat specifications. Certain helmets are made to resist higher levels of impact or electricity than others, and these must be worn in areas with higher presences of danger.


The American National Standards Institute classifies hard hats by both type and class. The following are classifications for hard hats according to the ANSI:

ANSI Type I hard hats protect from impact of falling objects from above. These hats are often made from high density polyethylene which has a high strength-to-density ratio.

ANSI Type II hard hats protect against both vertical and lateral hazards, meaning these helmets defend workers from impact and penetration from both falling objects as well as hazards which workers may walk into such as beams, corners, and low-hanging objects. These helmets are also lined with interior foam made usually of expanded polystyrene.

Class C hats provide no electrical protection whatsoever. They are meant only to protect against impact.

Class G or general, helmets protect against low-voltage exposure. They are tested at 2,200 volts.

Class E hard hats are designed for high voltage exposure and are meant to protect against 20,000 volts of electricity.

Product Lifetime

Daily inspection of hard hats is necessary to ensure they are intact and functional. Any blemishes or flaws as a result of impact such as cracks, dents, and holes render them useless. Additionally, UV radiation may damage hard hats. This damage will be evident by the loss of shine on the helmet. Many hard hats have an expiration date displayed somewhere on the product. Check to make certain the hat you are using is not past its manufacturer-set lifespan.

Hard hats are an essential piece of personal protective equipment for industries across the board. Finding the right hard hat for the job ensures safety and wellness for all workers. However, safety shouldn’t cost a fortune. Hard hats at MPE are affordable without sacrificing quality. Visit the shop to see what options are available to you.

Courtesy of OSHA


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