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Head Protection for Construction Site Workers

F Marie Athey OHST

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F Marie Athey OHST | March 18, 2014 | Comments Off on Head Protection for Construction Site Workers

Head Protection for Construction Site Workers

Wearing head protection should never be ignored on a construction site. Hard hats are not magical and won’t prevent an injury, but they will definitely minimize the impact of one. March is Traumatic Brain Injury Month in the United States where organizations such as the CDC work to bring awareness to TBIs. A Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) survey shows that workers who suffered head injuries at Construction work sites did not wear head protection at the time of the accident. Some employers did not require workers to wear head protection, or had not evaluated hazards that were present at the jobsite such as overhead objects falling on workers below.

Are you aware of the right type of head protection that you should be using at the Construction site? Your employer must evaluate the hazards you are exposed to and then remove the hazard. If the hazard cannot be removed PPE (Personal Fall Protection) equipment must be worn. Employees must receive training for the PPE they use such as how to wear it correctly and maintain the equipment in good working condition. Found below are the different types of hard hats that you should wear on the job, according to 2009 OSHA updates to its personal protective equipment program:

ANSI Z89.1-1997

ANSI Z89.1-1997 separates protective hard hats into different types and classes.

“Type” is used to designate whether a hard hat provides protection strictly from blows to the top of the head (Type I) or protection from blows to both the top and sides of the head (Type II).

Under Z89.1-1997, the following three classes are recognized:

  • Class G (general) helmets: Class G helmets are proof tested at 2,200 volts
  • Class E (electrical) helmets: Class E helmets are proof tested at 20,000 volts
  • Class C (conductive) helmets: This class provides no electrical insulation.

Regardless of the type or class, helmets should have a label on them showing that it is ANSI-compliant (Z89), its type and class, and the name of its manufacturer or distributor. Save the packaging material the hard hat comes in as it contains useful information on how to wear the equipment correctly, limitations, and proper use.

How do you know which helmet to choose? Your employer will make that decision once they have performed a hazard evaluation and cannot remove the hazard from your work area. Know that each helmet offers different type of protection for certain hazards. Your choice of helmet or head protection gear to choose for specific jobs is determined by conducting a hazard assessment/site determination at the workplace. This will be the employers responsibility. You will be responsible to wear and maintain the equipment.

Understand how to properly use personal protective equipment by completing an OSHA training course. Visit for more information on OSHA safety courses for the Construction and General industries.

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