Hard Hats or Construction Safety Helmets With a Chin Strap?

Construction safety helmets with chin straps offer exceptional protection from injuries when compared to traditional hard hats.

construction worker demonstrating how construction safety helmets with a chin strap can protect your head


Across the construction industry, the popularity of construction safety helmets with chin straps continues to rise. Falls have consistently been one of the leading causes of construction worker deaths, and more companies are beginning to recognize that it's time for their trusty hard hats to be upgraded.


Over the past several years, our Safety Support Team has heard from dozens of general contractors who now require employees to wear safety helmets with chin straps instead of traditional hard hats.


This change in thinking has been brought on by the realization that ensuring head protection stays in place in the event of a fall is crucial to the safety of the worker – and that safety helmets with chin straps offer exceptional protection from injuries when compared to traditional hard hats.


Simply put, if an employee suffers a fall, a traditional hard hat will likely fall off his/her head. While a safety helmet with chin strap will most likely stay safely secured during a fall, greatly decreasing the chances of head injuries when the employee hits the ground.


leading causes of construction accidents

What is the difference between a traditional hard hat and construction safety helmets?

  • A traditional hard hat is typically made of polyethylene and secured by an adjustable ratchet or pinlock suspension to produce custom fit.
  • Construction safety helmets are built using the same pressure diffusion technology as many outdoor sports helmets, such as those used for rock climbing, skiing, cycling, kayaking, etc. A safety helmet typically has a shorter brim and contains protective padding that provides ample impact protection. Additionally, safety helmets have built-in chin straps that keep the helmet securely on the head.


Related: Learn more about how to select the right full-brim hard hat and become an expert at using your head.


What is the OSHA standard for head protection?

OSHA requires employers to provide head protection to employees working in areas where there is the potential for head injuries due to falling or flying objects, electrical shock or other hazards. The specific requirements for head protection are detailed in OSHA Standard 1910.135. The standard requires that all head protection meet American National Standards Institute (ANSI) guidelines, which outline performance and testing criteria for hard hats and safety helmets.


Does OSHA require that hard hats have chin straps?

No. While OSHA does not require chin straps, they did publish a non-mandatory guideline (OSHA 1915, Subpart I, App A) which states: Proper fitting of hard hats is important to ensure that the hard hat will not fall off during work operations. In some cases, a chinstrap may be necessary to keep the hard hat on an employee's head.


So while wearing a chinstrap is not an OSHA requirement, if a task is being performed at height or in a manner that can cause the helmet to fall off a worker's head, then wearing a safety helmet with a chinstrap is probably a good idea.


Related: Should you or your workers wear hard hat stickers? Read about the pros and cons of hard hat stickers in a recent article.


Can I purchase construction safety helmets with chin straps from Wesco Safety?

Yes. All the major safety product manufacturers are producing construction safety helmets with chin straps.


3M™ SecureFit™ X5000 Series Safety Helmets

This climbing-style helmet delivers all-day comfort without sacrificing security. From the unique design to the industry-leading innovations, 3M™ SecureFit™ Safety Helmets are engineered with workers in mind. The result is a revolutionary helmet design that delivers comfort without compromise.

  • Suspension system incorporates exclusive patented Pressure Diffusion Technology
  • 6-point ratchet suspension allows wearer to customize height and fit
  • UV indicator that lets wearer know when to replace helmet due to UV exposure
  • Customize your fit with multiple levels of vertical adjustment
  • Accessory slots work with a variety of 3M™ face shields, earmuffs and other accessories
  • Various vented, non-vented and reflective options are available


MSA V-Gard® H1 Safety Helmets

Working at heights safety helmet designed for tower climbing, forestry, rescue and confined spaces. The V-Gard H1 Safety Helmet provides exceptional comfort and ease of use in a stylish, low-profile hard hat design. This safety helmet provides a complete above-the-neck platform for all applications, falls, and falling objects.

  • Fas-Trac® III Pivot Ratchet Suspension produces superior comfort, ability to adjust, and range of motion
  • 4-point chinstrap features multiple adjustment points for customized fit and comfort
  • Non-contact foam liner maximizes air flow and breathability for optimal cooling and hygiene
  • Moisture wicking sweatband features a hook-and-loop attachment for easy field replacement
  • "Push-button" accessory attachment rail and universal lighting clips allow for quick installation and removal
  • Convenient rescue whistle is integrated into the chinstrap buckle
  • Hats feature a matte finish shell and standard reflective trim
  • Choose from both vented and non-vented styles


Due to social and budgetary factors, the change from traditional hard hats to safety helmets with chin straps may take some time. But as wearing safety helmets with chin straps becomes more of the norm on jobsites, the result will be fewer injuries and deaths.


Feel free to contact our Safety Support Team to help you select the best hard hats, construction safety helmets, or general protective equipment 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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