Western Kentucky University

Environment, Health and Safety

Head Protection

Don't be hard-headed, wear your hard hat to protect one of the most important parts of the body.  A severe blow to the head can cause a concussion, hearing problems, memory loss, confusion, seizures and even loss of smell.  You can significantly reduce your risk of a head injury on the job simply by wearing a hard hat.  A survey by the Bureau of Labor Statistics reveals that most workers who have suffered impact injuries to the head were not wearing head protection at the time of performing their normal job duties.

 Wear a hard hat when there is a risk of head injury from the following:

  • Impact and penetration from bumps, falling and/or swinging objects
  • Electrical shock and burn

The hard hat design and construction resists blows and absorbs shock.  The outer shell protects the head from a blow or penetration.  The head band and straps absorb the shock of an impact and the chin strap (if equipped) keeps the hat on. 

Hard hat classes identify the level of protection.  ANSI standard changes have not been incorporated into the OSHA standard.  All classes resist impact and penetration. 

  • OSHA Class A or ANSI G (low-voltage electricity)
  • OSHA Class B or ANSI E (high-voltage electricity)
  • Class C (never wear around electricity)
  • Class D (fire-fighters)

Make sure you have a comfortable fit and adjust the headband so the hat itself does not touch your head.  Maintain your hard hat so it can protect you. 

  • Inspect for damage and deterioration before and after each use
  • Remove and wash the sweatband periodically
  • Clean the hat occasionally in hot soapy water and allow to dry
  • Store in a cool, dry, and safe location
  • Replace the hat if it has taken a heavy blow or is cracked or broken

For additional information or assistance, please contact Environment, Health and Safety (270) 745-2395. 

 Last Modified 7/22/13