The appropriate head protection should be worn when facing potential falling object hazards. OSHA divides hard hats into three industrial classes. Class A provides impact and penetration resistance with limited volt protection to 2,200 volts. Class B gives the highest level of protection against electrical hazards (up to 20,000 volts). Class C hats provide only lightweight protection with no protection from electrical hazards.
It is vital that you wear the right head protection for the right situation. OSHA requirements spell out specific guidelines for head protection. OSHA regulations incorporate the standards of the American National Standards Institute (ANSI). According to these standards, employees must wear hard hats in the following situations:
- When objects or debris might fall from above and strike workers on the head
- When employees may strike their heads against fixed objects, like supports, beams, or other equipment
- When there is the possibility that workers’ heads will make contact with electrical hazards
If a hard hat shows signs of damage such as cracks, penetration or fatigue it should be replaced. In order to test if your hard hat is still up to safety standard, grab it with both hands and apply force by squeezing. If the hat makes a creaking sound, you know it is time to get a new one.