Of the types of injuries that can occur in the workplace, head injuries are some of the most severe. While any employee injury is something to be avoided avoid, head injuries could turn fatal. This is why it is imperative that you provide your employees with adequate head projection.
By supplying them with helmets and other forms of head protection, you are protecting them from falling or swinging objects or blows to head. You want to protect employees from electric shock, penetration, and to help absorb the shock of a blow. Here is more information about head protection in the workplace.
Classes of Head Protection
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has them separated head protection equipment into classifications. For the most part, all head protection is available in the form of a hard hat. However, there are different levels of protection depending on what your employees are at risk of. Workplace hazards could be anything from electrical sparks and fire, to flying debris. Here are the three classes of head protection available:
- Class A – The first classification of ear protection is Class A. These hard hats will protect your employees from a small amount of voltage hazards, as well as minor impact and penetration.
- Class B – With Class B hard hats, your employees have more protection from penetration and impact, due to flying debris and falling off tall heights. This is also the best hard hat for electrical hazards, including burn protection and high-voltage shock protection.
- Class C – Class C hard hats don’t protect against electrical hazards, but have impact protection. They are more lightweight and comfortable for your workers.
There is also another type of hard hat that doesn’t fit in these classifications, called a bump hat. This is for workers who might be working in an area that has low head clearance, where they are at risk of lacerations or bumping their head on objects.
OSHA Requirements for Head Protection
OSHA has requirements for proper safety protection for all areas of the body, including the head. For head protection, their guidelines and requirements include:
- Hard hats to protect against injuries or impact should be worn even if the worker is simply nearby or below others with tools or equipment that might fall.
- If burns or electrical shock are a risk, employees must wear a Class A or Class B hard hat at all times. Bump hats and Class C hats do not protect against these hazards.
- The materials used for the hard hats must be slow-burning and water-resistant.
- Hard hats must be adjustable with suspension system to keep them on the employee’s head at all time.
- Damaged hard hats must be replaced.
Choosing the Right Head Protection
When choosing the right head protection, make sure you start with the right classification. Within each class, there are different sizes, and your employee should not wear a hard that is too big or too small. Get hats that are adjustable on the inside, so they fit comfortably without sliding around. You can also get hard hats with accessories for eye and face protection, such as safety glasses, face shields and earmuffs.
Even with head protection, your employees may still experience a work-related injury. By protecting them with a workers’ compensation insurance policy, they will have medical treatments covered for these injuries.