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Hard Hats And Work Site Safety

By Bill Underwooda

hard hats are ubiquitous on job sites, and are practically synonymous with many trades. You might already wear a hard hat in the workplace, or be required to when you visit a work site. Everyone is somewhat familiar with them, but beside the obvious fact that they protect your head, there are a few things you might not know.

In any jobs where falling objects could strike someones head, they are mandated by OSHA. Although the administration doesn’t specify exactly what occupations this applies to, most potentially hazardous workplaces require them. Because head injury can be so serious, workers would probably want to be wearing one anyway.

We think of their hard exterior as being their chief safety feature, but the physics is a little more complicated. If the exterior rested directly against the scalp, a falling object would still hurt quite a bit. Luckily, they are designed with a special webbing.

The carefully designed webbing holds the shell slightly away from the wearer’s scalp. When a falling object strikes the shell, this gap provides a little travel room so that the shell can move with the blow without hitting the skull. Instead, the straps of the helmet distributes the kinetic energy across the entire webbing.

There is a similar piece of protective gear that lacks this protective webbing. At first glance, you might not notice a difference. These “bump caps” are fine for some applications where there is less risk of serious injury. While there’s nothing wrong with using these other hats where appropriate, it is important to know the difference.

Picking the right one is important. If you are working with electricity, you might need a class G or E hard hat. Class C is conductive, so you’d hate to choose one of those accidentally. Also, although hard hats are mostly associated with protection against things falling straight down, some workplaces also present the risk of a lateral blow for which you would want a Type 2.

Of course, worse than the wrong type would be none at all. Hard hats are widely used, and for good reason. Not only are they required in many jobs, but if you work anywhere that presents a danger of head injury, you’ll want quality head protection.

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Article Citation
MLA Style Citation:
Underwooda, Bill "Hard Hats And Work Site Safety." Hard Hats And Work Site Safety. 3 Jul. 2010. 9 Apr 2015 <>.

APA Style Citation:
Underwooda, B (2010, July 3). Hard Hats And Work Site Safety. Retrieved April 9, 2015, from

Chicago Style Citation:
Underwooda, Bill "Hard Hats And Work Site Safety"

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