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Hard Hat Safety: Protecting Your Head


There are many ways a worker can sustain a head injury within the workplace some of which can have devastating consequences. While some slip and fall accidents are often quite easy to avoid by keeping the work area free of water or chemical spills, accidents caused by defective equipment, those incurred when operating heavy machinery, or from falling objects can be hard to detect.

Head injuries can be fatal and may affect an individual’s ability to work for the rest of his/her life. However, when safety measures are regularly observed, a company may be able to reduce the millions of nonfatal workplace injuries that workers experience each year.

Under Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) head protection regulations, employers are required to provide hard hats for employees who work near exposed electrical conductors that may contact the head to decrease the risk of electrical shock. Workers must also wear head protection gear when working in places where they can easily bump their head, such as when working near exposed pipes, around conveyor belts or other machinery that may cause objects to dislodge and fall.

Head protection helmets must satisfy the requirements of the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and must comply with the following Protective Headwear for Industrial Workers standards:

Hard hats must:

  • Safely absorb the shock of a falling object
  • Prevent an object from penetrating it
  • Fit a worker’s head properly
  • Be water resistant
  • Burn slowly when in contact with fire

Failure to adhere to OSHA standards can lead to an array of costly violations by a company and that of a worker. Such violations have seen many businesses face a number of penalties and various costs that can add up pretty fast. A violation that results in death or bodily harm is one of the most serious of all OSHA offenses, and an offender can be hit with a mandatory penalty reaching up to the thousands in dollars.

One way to ensure OSHA compliance is to ensure that each worker is wearing the proper Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) at all times. Employers should also ensure that their workers stay up-to-date with OSHA education and training and make sure that such educational material is readily and regularly available to everyone within the organization.

Such training programs offer a wide range of services to businesses such as, webinars, on-site training, consultation assistance, including providing free resources for employers who want to create and maintain a safe workplace.

Every worker must, therefore, ensure that they are wearing the right PPE at all times, especially head protection where there is a potential for objects falling from above or accidental head contact with electrical hazards so as to minimize injuries to themselves and those around them. Martin Safety Solutions offers a wide variety of onsite safety training classes. Learn more about our Safety Solutions here.