According to the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA), a hard hat must be worn “when working in areas where there is a potential for injury to the head from falling objects.” In addition, a hard hat must also be worn in working areas where there is the risk of exposure to electrical conductors that can potentially contact the head. In these types of environments, specially designed protective helmets are required in order to counteract the dangers of electrical shock hazards. Hard hats that are considered to be “OSHA approved” meet the minimum criteria established by the American National Standards (ANSI) and the International Safety Equipment Association (ISEA), in accordance with the most current ANSI/ISEA Z89.1-standards.
If a hard hat is necessary, the next step is selecting the most appropriate hard hat for your work environment. ANSI divided protective helmets into different types and classes. A hard hat type indicates the designated level of impact protection, while a hard hat class indicates the degree of electrical performance.