Choosing the type of hard hat based on the work being preformed is essential to protecting your employees. ANSI Z89.1-1997 is generally the standard referenced by EHS professionals when choosing a hat. Below is a list of the most common types:
Type 1 (Full Brim): Full brim hats, although heavier, offer a 360 degree brim around the edge of the shell providing added protection from falling objects as well as shade from the sun.
Type 2 (Cap Style): Cap style hats provide only a brim in the front. These hats are lightweight, versatile and can be used with a large number of accessories.
Class G (General): This class of hat is built to protect the wearer from penetration, fall impact and low level voltage conductivity (tested at 2,200 volts)
Class E (Electricity): This class of hat is built to protect the wearer from penetration, fall impact and low level voltage conductivity (tested at 20,000 volts)
Class C (Conductive): This class of hat is, generally, a conductor and should not be used around electricity. It has protection is against impact and penetration only.
Hard hat accessories can be a valuable resource to add protection for the wearer. Depending on your workplace hazards there may be an accessory or set of accessories that can help add comfort, fit or safety to your current line of hats. Thompson Safety offers a number of accessories built for nearly every brand of hard hat on the market.
Visors: can help protect from exposure to the sun giving extra coverage for the head and neck.
Suspensions: come in many types and can offer increased comfort, better fit as well as added protection.
Ear plugs/muffs: provide hearing protection and are often built directly into the hat itself.
Sweat bands: provide added protection by helping to keep sweat from running into the wearers eyes and face.
Colors: can help distinguish between different groups or experience levels on a job site (example: Green = Safety, Red = New Employee, Blue = Contractors)
Safety glasses: provide eye protection and are often built directly into the hat itself.
Logos: can help distinguish employees on busy job sites as well as help ensure your equipment does not "walk away".
Vented: hats allow heat to escape from the top of the head helping limit over-heating and headaches.