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A beginners guide to hard hats

Posted by Dave on 3/12/2019 to News
A beginners guide to hard hats
So the boss sent you on a quest for hard hats huh? What's a hard hat you ask? Don't worry! Here's what you need to know to get started.

Hard hats are essential safety equipment needed when you’re working in areas that have a potential for injury to your head from falling objects.

When are hard hats used?

Hard hats are used when you’re under a threat from falling objects that might result from activities with close proximity to:
  • People or operations where accidental loss or dropping of materials, equipment, tools, or other articles will lead to a head injury
  • Objects that are stored on platforms, shelves, etc. that might fall and cause a head injury
  • A posted or barricaded demolition or construction area where there is a chance of head hazards
  • Overhead exposed energized conductors in the area nearby

What are the different types and classes of hard hats?
  • Type 1 – Helmets that are intended to reduce the force of the impact that results in a blow only to the top of your head.
  • Type 2– Helmets that are intended to reduce the force of the impact that results in a blow to the top as well as the side of your head.(Really just a Canadian thing fo rthe most part.)
  • Class E (previously Class B)– Helmets to be used when electrical hazards are present and are non-conducting and intended for protection against falling objects and reducing the danger of exposure to electric shocks of high voltage. These offer high protection against high-voltage shock and burn protection of up to 20,000 volts.
  • Class G (previously Class A)– These are meant for general use and are intended for protection against falling objects and reducing the danger of exposure to electrical conductors of low voltage. They also provide penetration and impact resistance as well as protection against up to 2,200 volts.
More and more companies have adopted a 100% hard hat usage policy instead of trying to figure out exactly when and where they are absolutely needed or required. Better safe than sorry, right?

Most ISG hard hats allow for the use of hard hat accessories like light attachments, face shields, reflective stripes for night work, and attachments for visors or earmuffs and of course company logo customization.

Many people ask us: "Are these hard hats OSHA approved?" That's kind of a trick question. OSHA doesn't actually approve or disapprove of any particular brand of hard hat. OSHA does require that they are to be worn in certain situations and that the hard hats meet the required ANSI standard. So, the answer to the question is actually that the hard hat does or does not meet the ANSI standard that OSHA requires.

Other common questions pertaining to the hard hats suspensions. The suspension is just the inner part of the hard hat that actually fits around your head. The suspension is then attached to the shell of the hard hat at several points.

So what's the difference between a 4 point and 6 point suspension? 2 points! Sorry, that's always my first answer. I'm kind of a smart a$$ :-) Really, It's just the number of places that the suspension attaches to the outer shell of the hard hat. In theory, the more points a suspension has the better it offsets, or carries, the weight of the shell on your head. In reality, most people don't really notice much of a difference. All of our hard hats are so lightweight that our 4 point suspensions are by far our most popular option.

So what's the "Ratchet" or "Snap-lock" or "squeeze lock" part of the suspension? That is simply the method used to adjust the fit of the hard hat to the wearers head. The ratchet is a knob that you would turn to tighten or loosen the fit of the hard hat. It does allow for a more precise fit and is also easier to adjust. The others are more like a ball cap type of adjustment.

What about cap style hard hats vs full brim hard hats? Cap style just has the brim mostly in the front of the hat more like a ball cap with a bill in the front. Full brim has a brim all the way around and offers better protection from the sun. Cap style is lighter weight and usually more compatible with accessories than full brim.

Many of the other differences between hard hats are the look and feel and often just comes down to a personal preference.

So there you have it. You're on your way. Please let us know if you have any questions. We're here to make your purchase as easy as possible.

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