<img height="1" width="1" style="display:none" src="https://www.facebook.com/tr?id=672348691155252&amp;ev=PageView&amp;noscript=1">
Skip to content

Understanding the New OSHA Requirements for Safety Helmets

08 July, 2024

Hardhats hanging in rows on both sides of a equipment room.


Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulations are constantly evolving to improve workplace safety. Recently, OSHA updated its requirements regarding head protection, particularly focusing on the use of safety helmets. These changes aim to enhance worker safety by encouraging the use of helmets that offer superior protection compared to traditional hardhats. In this blog post, we'll delve into the new requirements, highlight the benefits of safety helmets, and provide tips on how to encourage their adoption among workers. 

New OSHA Requirements for Safety Helmets

OSHA's updated regulations now emphasize the need for head protection that meets or exceeds the standards set by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and the International Safety Equipment Association (ISEA). Specifically, the new guidelines advocate for the use of safety helmets that: 

  1. Provide enhanced impact protection: Safety helmets provide better protection against a wider range of impact types. Traditional hardhats are primarily designed to protect against falling objects from above, but they offer limited protection from impacts to the sides, front, and back of the head. Safety helmets, on the other hand, are designed to protect the entire head, significantly reducing the risk of concussions and other traumatic brain injuries.
  2. Include suspension systems: Helmets should have suspension systems that distribute the force of an impact more evenly across the head, reducing the risk of injury. The addition of chin straps in safety helmets ensures that the helmet remains securely in place during an accident. This feature helps in preventing the helmet from being knocked off or shifted during a fall, which can leave the head exposed to further injury. The addition of these systems and padding improves comfort, which encourages workers to wear them consistently, enhancing overall safety compliance.
  3. Offer additional features: Safety helmets can be equipped with various accessories such as face shields, ear protection, and communication devices. This versatility makes them suitable for a wide range of tasks and environments, providing comprehensive protection that traditional hardhats cannot match.

Types and Classes of Head Protection

Types of Head Protection

Type I Head Protection: Designed to protect from impacts to the top of the head. 

Type II Head Protection: Provides protection from impacts to both the top and sides of the head.

Classes of Head Protection (Electrical) 

Class G (General): Reduces exposure to low-voltage conductors and is proof-tested at 2,200 volts (phase to ground). 

Class E (Electrical): Reduces exposure to higher voltage conductors and is proof-tested at 20,000 volts (phase to ground). 

Class C (Conductive): Not intended for protection against electrical hazards. 

Choose the Right Head Protection

ANSI/ISEA Z89.1-compliant head protection, including safety helmets and hard hats, are manufactured using a wide range of materials from high density polyethylene to glass reinforced nylon. Some hard hats and safety helmets incorporate advanced energy re-distribution solutions that reduce rotational forces of certain impacts and distribute impact energy throughout the headwear to help reduce brain trauma. Chin straps are recognized as an effective way to keep on head protection when working in awkward positions or when experiencing a slip or fall and should be considered for use with all head protection.  

Manufactures offer an array of product-specific approved optional features designed to address specific workplace hazards. Accessories can include add-on face shields or goggles, to protect against projectiles, dust, and chemical splashes, hearing protection, and communication systems. In addition, impact indicator technology can be mounted on protective headwear for concussion awareness. However, head protection with integrated technology may not be suitable for some workplaces. 

Your Site – Your Needs

Employers must conduct a hazard assessment at their job site and based on the workplace hazards determine whether head protection is necessary and if so, the most appropriate type. 

Construction Sites: For environments with high risks of falling objects, debris, equipment impacts, awkward working positions, and slip, trip, and fall hazards, consider Type II head protection with chin straps. DN-DuraLabel-Safety_Helmet_Regulations-Float

Oil and Gas Industry: In worksites where workers face multiple hazards, including potential exposure to chemicals and severe impacts, consider Type II head protection with integrated eye and face protection, such as face shields and goggles. 

Working from Heights: For tasks that involve working from heights, choose head protection with chin straps to prevent the helmet from falling off. 

Electrical Work: For tasks involving electrical work or proximity to electrical hazards, use head protection made of non-conductive materials (Class G and Class E) to prevent electrical shocks. Note that vented hard hats or safety helmets cannot be used for electrical work. 

High and Low-Temperature Environments: In high-temperature environments or where exposure to molten materials is a risk, select head protection with advanced heat-resistant properties (marked "HT" on the label). For cold environments, choose head protection that has been preconditioned in low temperatures prior to testing (marked "LT" on the label). 

High Visibility: High visibility head protection (marked "HV" on the label) helps workers be seen on jobsites, such as construction and road work. 

Specialized Work Environments: For jobs requiring integrated face shields, hearing protection, or communication devices, consider headwear that allows for these manufacturer-compatible safety features. 

Get Ahead of Workplace Hazards

DN-DuraLabel-Safety_Helmet_Regulations-Float2Ensuring workplace safety is a multifaceted effort that requires adherence to robust safety helmet standards alongside effective visual hazard communication. Safety helmets, with their enhanced protection and specialized features, are essential for safeguarding workers against various hazards. However, these helmets' effectiveness is bolstered when combined with clear and comprehensive visual hazard communication. 

Signs, labels, and floor markings, like the solutions provided by DuraLabel, provide immediate, understandable warnings and instructions that help workers recognize and navigate potential dangers. When workers can easily identify hazardous areas, required protective gear, and safe pathways, they are better equipped to use their safety helmets correctly and consistently. 

By aligning safety helmet standards with visual hazard communication strategies, employers create a cohesive safety culture that prioritizes the well-being of their workforce. This synergy not only enhances individual compliance but also fosters a collective commitment to safety, leading to a safer, more efficient workplace. 

OSHA-Compliant DuraLabel Solutions  

A significant part of workplace safety is making sure that all instructions are clearly communicated. OSHA-compliant labels from DuraLabel play a crucial role in reinforcing safety protocols, especially when it comes to hard hat safety. These labels can be used on equipment, safety signs, and instructional materials to remind workers of the importance of wearing hard hats in designated areas. 

DuraLabel signs and labels are designed to withstand harsh environments, ensuring that safety messages remain visible and intact over time. Our safety signs and labels help keep your workplace compliant, and your workers protected. 

For customized labeling solutions that meet OSHA standards and enhance workplace safety, consult with our team of experts. Call 1-888-965-3359 today, and we’ll assist you in developing a comprehensive labeling system tailored to your specific needs. 

Stay informed and compliant with the latest in facility communication. Download our free Facility Signage Handbook to guarantee your facility is properly marked and up to date on current safety measures.


Download Your Free Facility Signage Handbook
Not sure where to start? Determine
what products you need to get the job done!
DuraNews Logo
Get Safety Delivered
Subscribe to DuraNews for our monthly safety newsletter


Read Next: 

OSHA Updates Eye and Face Protection Standards 

Three Essential Tips to Prevent Workplace Head Injuries