Use Your Head When Choosing a [Full-Brim] Hard Hat

Choosing the right full-brim hard hat for your work environment is crucial to ensure that your head is protected from potential hazards.




Hard hats are an essential piece of safety equipment for any job site. Choosing the right hard hat (full-brim hard hat, bump cap, or other) for your work environment is crucial to ensure that your head is protected from potential hazards.

In this article, we'll discuss the different types of hard hats available and how to select the best one for your needs. We'll also cover the importance of proper fit and maintenance. By understanding these key points, you can make sure that you have the right hard hat to keep you safe on the job.

Some Common Hard Hat and Full-Brim Hard Hat Questions

What is the difference between a Type I and Type II hard hat?

  • The most common type of hard hat is the Type I hard hat. It is intended to reduce the force of impact resulting from a blow only to the top of the head.
  • Type II hard hats are intended to reduce the force of lateral impact resulting from a blow which may be received off-center, from the side, from behind, or to the top of the head. Type II full-brim hard hats are typically lined on the inside with a thick high-density foam.

Both styles can be fitted with accessories such as face shields, earmuffs and chin straps for additional protection.

How do I know if my hard hat protects against electrical shock?

Hard hats are assigned classes which describe their level of protection against electrical shock:

  • Class E (Electrical) hard hats can withstand up to 20,000 volts of electricity.
  • Class G (General) hard hats can withstand up to 2,200 volts of electricity.
  • Class C (Conductive) hard hats offer no protection from electric shock.

How often should my hard hat be replaced?

Many hard hat manufacturers allow up to 5 years of use once a hard hat is put into service. However, regular inspection will be the determining factor if the hard hat should be replaced. Here are some signs that the shell should be replaced:

  • Cracks, nicks, dents, or gouges to shell
  • Stiffness or brittleness. Hold the hard hat in both hands and compress the shell from the sides, approximately 1', and then release pressure. The shell should return to its original shape immediately. It may be necessary to compare the If the hard hat does not return to its original shape quickly or if it exhibits cracking, then replace the hard hat immediately.
  • Fading, dull color, or a chalky appearance
  • If your hard hat is exposed to high levels of sunlight, replace it more frequently.

The service life of a hard hat starts when it is placed in service. This date should be recorded in the helmet, either on the ANSI label or with the use of a date of service label. The "date code" stamped on the inside of your hard hat refers to the date of manufacture, not the starting date for useful service.

What are the different types of hard hat suspensions?

  • Ratchet suspensions feature a small knob that can be turned to adjust quickly.
  • Pinlock suspensions feature pins and holes (like an adjustable baseball cap).
  • One-touch suspensions adjust by squeezing and sliding the suspension to best fit.
  • Swing ratchet suspensions allow you to quickly reverse the direction of your hard hat.

What is the difference between a 4-point, 6-point, and 8-point suspension?

The more points of attachment to the shell, the more the impact force is spread out. Therefore, an 8-point suspension will absorb the most impact force.

When should a hard hat suspension be replaced?

Most manufacturers recommend that your hard hat suspension be replaced annually. Here are some signs that a suspension should be replaced:

  • If you notice cracks, tears or loss of pliability
  • If the straps are frayed or torn
  • If the suspension no longer properly attaches to your hard hat shell or slots

What are the advantages of a full brim hard hat?

A full brim hard hat helps to deflect debris and other objects that may fall from above, as well as providing protection from the sun’s rays. When compared to traditional helmets, a full brim hard hat also provides superior protection for the head, face, ears and shoulders making it ideal for use in construction sites, factories and other dangerous workplaces. The 360° brim reduces the chances of sunburn on the back of the neck.

Do bump caps offer the same protection as hard hats?

No. Bump caps are different from hard hats in that they only are meant to protect the scalp by reducing exposure to abrasions and lacerations caused by minor bumps to the head. Bump caps do NOT meet OSHA or ANSI requirements for head protection.

Can I wear a winter liner under my hard hat?

Yes. Many of the manufacturers of hard hats support the wearing of winter liners. However, nothing should ever be put between the hard hat suspension and the shell itself. This is not approved by the manufacturer and can inhibit the performance of the hard hat, and cause injury.

Feel free to contact our Safety Support Team to help you select the best full-brim hard hats for your particular workplace. In almost any situation you have, we can offer you options that fit your budget or specific needs, allowing your employees to work comfortably and efficiently.

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