How Are Hard Hats Tested?

Hard hats undergo strict testing according to ANSI criteria before being deemed able to provide adequate head protection. The way this works is a sample of hard hats from a batch or production shift are set aside for testing. They are tested in several areas including impact energy attenuation, apex penetration, and electrical insulation.

Type I Hard Hat
Type I Hard Hat

Testing for Type I Hard Hats

Impact Energy Attenuation Test –measures the top of the hard hat’s capability to reduce the force of an impact from falling objects to the top of a wearer’s head. The test is conducted by dropping an 8 lb. steel ball from a free fall height of 5 ft.

Apex Penetration Test – measures the top of the hard hat’s capability to resist penetration. The test is conducted by dropping a pointed steel penetrator on to a hat to test its ability to resist penetration.

Type II Hard Hat
Type II Hard Hat

Testing for Type II Hard Hats

Impact Energy Attenuation Test – measures the energy-absorbing capability from a lateral impact (object hits off-center or top of a wearer’s head). The test is performed by using an 11 lb. head form donning a hard hat dropped on to two types of steel anvils.

Off-Center Penetration Test – similar procedure to apex penetration test with the exception of changes in test location. The test is conducted by dropping a 2.2 lb. pointed steel penetrator from a free-fall height of 4 feet.

Chin Strap Retention Test – measures the ability of a chin strap to keep a hard hat on a wearer’s head. The test is conducted by attaching a 22.2 lb. object to the chin strap and dropping it from a height of 4 inches.

Electrical Insulation Tests for Type I and Type II Hard Hats – measures electrical shock resistance capability of hard hat. There are three types of electrical insulation test criteria for electrical insulation.

Class E hard hats reduce the danger of exposure to high voltage electrical conductors: hard hat is proof tested at 20,000 volts for 3 minutes, then at 30,000 volts with no burn-through permitted.

Class G hard hats reduce the danger of exposure to low voltage electrical conductors: hard hat is tested at 2,200 volts for 1 minute.

Class C hard hats are not tested for electrical resistance. This class is not intended to provide protection from electrical conductors.

Several manufacturers including MSA, North, Vulcan, Bullard, Jackson, and many more offer top quality hard hats that have undergone these rigorous tests. Each manufacturer has a vast selection of bump caps, full brim and cap style hard hats. Any type of head protection you choose will provide exceptional head protection to reduce the risk  of injury.

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