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Are there different types of bump caps?

By Steve Prentice | Last updated: May 7, 2019
Presented by Ergodyne

Bump caps are designed to protect against impact initiated by the worker. This includes bumping the head against low objects or against walls and obstacles in confined spaces. In other words, whenever the worker moves toward and makes contact with an object.

It is important to fully differentiate bump caps from hard hats, which are designed to protect against impacts initiated by moving objects. This includes items that fall or swing toward the worker. The strong outer shell provides protection from the impact of a moving object, while the suspension ring diffuses the momentum.

(Learn about Hard Hat Requirements You Need to Know.)


Bump caps are not CSA or ANSI approved, but there is a European standard: EN 812: 2012. Some bump caps sold in North America might be marked as EN 812-certified.

There are different styles of bump cap, but they all fall into the same category of protecting against minor lacerations or impacts initiated by the wearer:

  • Soft textured bump caps that resemble a soft helmet and are made of breathable material for long term usage
  • Baseball cap style bump caps that offer a more casual look while incorporating the required padding
  • Hardshell bump caps that offer a little more protection through a physically hard polyethylene helmet
  • Conventional baseball caps with specialized bump cap inserts

The variations in look and style do not represent vastly different levels of safety – all bump caps are designed for minor impact based on a person’s own momentum. However, the design, style, color and comfort of a particular cap might make it more appealing to wear.

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Written by Steve Prentice

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Steve Prentice is a project manager and a specialist in productivity and technology in the workplace. Much of his work focuses on techniques for creating and maintaining safe and healthy working environments. He believes new educational technologies will go a long way in establishing policies and practice that support safe and balanced work, while blockchain tech will assist greatly in the process, and he assists companies in adopting these as new best practices. He is a published author of three self-help books, and is in high demand as a guest speaker and media commentator. His academic background is in organizational psychology and project management.

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