This is a popular question asked by many people. Before addressing that question, you need to know the difference between a hard hat and a bump cap. The most significant difference between the two types of head protection is bump caps are not regulated, whereas hard hats are ANSI compliant and OSHA required.
Bump caps have a seamless one-piece design made of either LDPE (low-density polyethylene) or plastic. This type of head protection is designed with a lightweight shell and no suspension system. The purpose of bump caps is to provide head protection from bumps and minor injuries in an area that has low head clearance or low-hanging machinery. A bump cap is ideal for several work environments including automotive repair, food processing, meter reading, truck drivers, maintenance departments, and pest control.
Hard hats are another choice in head protection consisting of a hard shell made of HDPE (high-density polyethylene), plastic, nylon, or lightweight thermoplastic resins. Inside is a hard hat suspension system made of plastic, nylon, or a combination of the two materials. Hard hats are ideal for use in workplace environments where head injuries can occur from falling objects and other debris such as construction sites, climbing utility poles, and logging.
All you need to do now is figure out your risk level for head injury. Are you working in an environment with low head clearance? If so, then a bump cap is a good head protection option for you. Are you working in an environment with a risk of objects falling on your head? If so, then a hard hat is an ideal option for you. Get your head protection and get to work.