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Advanced Head Protection Explained


Head protection policies for construction are being updated in a move away from traditional hard hats.  Many companies are adopting safety helmets meeting ANSI Type I & EN 12492, as well as ANSI Type II & EN 14052 hard hats, addressing the higher risks and hazards on today’s job sites.

What is the difference between ANSI Type I and Type II safety helmets?
Hard Hats in the US must meet the Z89.1-2014 safety standard set by ANSI/ISEA.  The standard establishes the types and classes of hard hat options that provide appropriate protection for hazards in their specific workplaces.

ANSI Type I (Top Impact)
Designed to reduce the force of impact to the top of the head.

ANSI Type II (Top and Lateral Impact)
Offers Side (Lateral) Impact Protection which reduces the force of impact resulting from a blow which may be received off center as well as to the top of the head.

Click to view the Evo® Vista™ Ascend™, Type I helmet with a retractable and integrated eye protector.

ANSI Type I Explained
ANSI Z89 Type I
is the standard that hard hats have traditionally had to meet.  These products are intended to reduce the force of impact resulting from a blow to the top of the head, and do not require a chin strap.  Testing is carried out with an 8 lb weight dropped from 5ft onto the top of the hard hat only.

There is growing recognition that in some environments ANSI Type I requirements are not sufficient, as higher risks demand off-crown impact protection with a secure chin strap.

EN 12492 specifies requirements for mountaineering helmets shall have at least three separate chin point attachment, designed to provide protection from repeated multidirectional impacts. The chinstrap provides extra retention, preventing the safety helmet from coming off at a crucial, potentially life threatening moment.

EN 12492 Performance Requirements
• Clause 4.2.1.1: Vertical energy absorption capacity: 11 lb hemispherical striker dropped from 6.5 ft onto the crown of the helmet
• Clauses 4.2.1.2, 4.2.1.3 & 4.2.1.4: energy absorption capacity: 11 lb at striker dropped from 1.5 ft onto the front, side & rear of the helmet (tilted at 30°)
• Clause 4.2.3: Retention system strength:  The chin strap retention system is tested under a force of 112 lbs and must not release or elongate over 1 in.

• Clause 4.2.4: Retention system effectiveness:  Sudden force applied to front and rear edges of helmet to ensure it remains secure on the head form.

Click to view the Dynamic Rocky™ Type II Climbing Helmet

ANSI Type II Explained
ANSI Z89
Type II requirements include additional impact testing and side penetration protection.  This can typically makes products bulkier and heavier, which can be unsuitable for wearers in tight or confined spaces.  Type II hard hats are designed to provide heavy duty protection for high risk sites.

EN 14052 Performance Requirements
• Penetration, crown: 22 lb at blade striker dropped from 8 ft onto the crown of the helmet.

• Penetration, off-crown: Multiple tests with 22 lb at blade striker dropped 6.5 ft onto helmet tilted 15-60°.
• Shock absorption, off-crown: 11 lb hemispherical dropped from 3.5 ft into the helmet tilted at 15-60°.
• Shock absorption, crown: 11 lb hemispherical striker dropped from 6.5 ft onto the crown of the helmet.

Click to view the Rocky™ Type II Climbing Helmet, with MIPS® Technology

What is MIPS® Helmet Technology?
You may have heard of this head protection technology if you ski, snowboard, ride bikes, rock climb, play hockey, or indulge in any other athletic activity that requires head protection.  Some of the highest-level athletes worldwide trust helmets with integrated MIPS® technology while performing at their absolute best.  After all, construction workers are industrial athletes – and for a good reason since they have maybe the most critical responsibility of them all – building America’s future! 🇺🇸

How Does MIPS® Technology Work?
The system features a low-friction layer inside the safety helmet between the padding and the EPS foam protective layer that allows for a multi-directional movement of 10-15mm on certain angled impacts. This slight movement allows the shell of the safety helmet to slide in whichever direction the rotational impact comes from while the suspension stays secure, ultimately helping limit the rotational movement of a worker’s head.

In summary, choosing the right head protection for your employees personal safety is a top priority. Keeping up-to-date on advanced head protection is another opportunity to select the best PPE available. The right head protection will prevent injuries and save lives.  Check out another one of our blog posts entitled 10 Things to Consider about Hard Hat Selection. 

This article republished with permission from PIP.

View our other blog posts related to Personal Protective Equipment.

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