Hard Hat Color Code And Type That You Need to Know Before Wearing It!

If you have ever been to a construction site, you will see workers and engineers wearing different colors of hard hats. You might ask if wearing a hard hat is only for protection, and why there are so many colors?

When I was introduced to this topic, this question also came to my mind. But when I did some study, then I figured out that protection isn't only the reason why the workers wear hard hats. There are other reasons as well.

Here in this article, I am going to tell you pretty much everything you need to know about the hard hat color code.

What is a Hard Hat?

According to Wikipedia.org it is a helmet that the workers wear to protect their head against injuries from objects falling and debris. Besides, a hard hat helmet also gives protection against electric shocks and unpredictable dangers.

The Short History Behind the Hard Hat

Hard hats were first introduced during the age of World War I. At that time, hats were made of leather and seldom from steel. Dickinson Bullard was the inventor of this kind of hat. He was an entrepreneur and specialized supplying equipment for miners.

In the late 19th century, hard hats were further developed with more security and improved safety for the workers. Later in the early 20th century, it was made obligatory to wear on docks and construction sites.

Within a short period, hard hats were changed material wise. Canvas replaced leather, followed by aluminum, fiberglass and finally, we have hard hats made of softening plastic.

The objectives of hard hats had always been the same as yesterday. But, today we have more secure hats that can even absorb up to 8000 to 9000 volts.

Why is It Important to Wear a Hard Hat?

Working on constructions sites is a pretty unpredictable thing. Every day workers fall from high altitudes and get hit by all sorts of materials in the head. The same thing goes for the electricians and lineman too.

If someone gets hit in his head, it can be quite deadly for him. A lightweight hard hat can make a significant difference between your life and death. Why risking your life when you can minimize it just by wearing a hard hat?

Most workers take off their hats whenever they get a chance. But this practice is quite dangerous. A head injury causes traumatic brain injuries and even death. In 2012, there were about 65,000 cases of head injuries in the workplace on off days alone.

Furthermore, 1020 people died because of head injuries sustained on their jobs.

Therefore, employers should ensure their workers are wearing hard hats if there is any risk of falling objects on the heads and electrical hazards contacts.

Hard Hat Color Codes

Hard hats come with many color options. The interesting fact is; these colors are not just options to choose from. Each of the colors serves particular reason.

1. White 

Hard hat of white color is for the supervisors; this includes managers, engineers, architects, and foremen. They are the top-ranked people on the construction sites. Often top-ranked individuals also wear it with a colored hi-vis vest.

2. Yellow

General labors and earth moving operators wear yellow colored hard hats. Yellow hat indicates a worker without any specialty.

3. Green

If you see anyone wearing a green color hard hat, then he might be one of the safety officers or inspectors. Also, newly hired people and trainees also wear hats of this color.

4. Brown

Although red color signifies to heating and welding stuff, workers with the brown color hard hat are welders or involved in applications that require heating.

5. Orange 

Have you ever see any road construction work?

Remember the color of hat the of workers on that site? Yeah, I am talking about road construction workers who wear orange hats.

Also, banksman slingers, traffic marshals, lifting operatives also wear orange hats.

6. Red

This one is easily understandable by its color. As red color resembles fire, usually firefighters and employees with emergency training wear red hats.

7. Blue

Technical operators like carpenters and electricians wear blue hats. Also, you will see medical personnel on the site wearing the similar color of hats.

8. Gray

When you see someone wearing a gray hat on a site, know that he is a visitor.

9. Pink

Any worker with a pink hat indicates he left his hat at home or the hat is broken. In this case, he needs to wear a pink hat until he gets his hat or gets another one as a replacement for the broken hat. A pinkish hat also considered as a punishment for not bringing hat to the work.

Even though I have mentioned nine color hats, but you will see only four colors in most cases. White, yellow, blue and orange are the most used colors.

Benefits of the Color Coding System

Although each hard hat color coding system has a different indication, there are no federal rules to govern each color. Therefore, you are free to choose whatever color you want. If you like orange, all your workers on the construction site can wear the orange hard hats, that is not a big deal.

So, no matter what color you choose, you are not breaking any law and will not be fined for your decision.

However, there is some goods reason why you should go with a designated color coding system.

  • If you implement specific colors for each type of job, it will make easier for anyone to identify key people if there is an emergency.
  • Workers on the construction site can easily identify one another just by seeing the hard hat colors.
  • The supervisors will be able to tell where the workers are working for what purpose.
  • The color coding system is the standard at the most construction site, and if you follow this generally accepted rules, it will add more value to its continuity.

Hard Hat Types Classes

There are mainly two types of hard hats; type I and type II. Type I is a basic type of hat that protects hat only from a blow. This type of hat does not come with any lateral protection.

While on the other hand, type II hard hats are more secure than the type I. It protects a worker from having an impact on the top of the head and lateral impact. If you are looking for a hard hat with full head protection, go for this type.

The classes are only applicable to electrical hard hats. They are divided into three classes.

1. E – Class

E stands for "Electrical." E hard hat protects linemen against 15,000 volts and even more. Do not get confused with the full body protection from such amount of voltage. It only protects the head, not the entire body. Therefore, suit up properly for the electrical work.

2. G – Class

G stands for "General." It pretty much tells you when to use this kind of hat. A G-class hard hat is not secure like an E-class one. If someone deals with a low voltage which is around 2,000 volts, a G-class hard hat will suffice his needs.

3. C-Class 

C stands for "Conductive." The electricians are not advised to wear this class of hats. It only protects a worker against impact. Most hats of this class contain aluminum to some extent. So, it can be a life hazard, if someone uses it for an electrical purpose.

Hard Hats According to the Types of Work

Hard hats are further classified depending on the types of work. Not every work requires the same quality of head protection. Therefore, it is necessary to know which hard hat is suitable for what kind of workplace.

1. Industrial

These are the most common hard hats that are used on constructions sites, and other risky workplaces. Typically, these hats are round shaped that you see everywhere.

2. High-Temperature

Some hard hats are made of fiberglass, and capable of withstanding high temperatures. If you work in an environment of high temperature, then typical plastic made hats will melt.

But when you use fiberglass made hats in the high-temperature working area, your head will be pretty much secured.

3. Bushfire Fighting

This type of hats is quite similar to high-temperature ones’. Bushfire fighting hats are used by the firefighters. The difference is, it has protection for ear and back of the head.

4. Peakless

Peakless is an ordinary type of hats. Most of the times, these hats do not ensure protection against injuries proper head safety. That is why peakless hats were prohibited at some point.

5. Peaked

Peaked hats provide shade for the eyes as well as protection for some part of the face.

6. Full Brim

These are cowboy looking hard hats. The hat provides full protection from UV and falling objects as well as water shedding.

Wearing a Hard Hat Correctly

Wearing a hard hat in the wrong way can lead you to risks of getting grave injuries. To ensure the safety, you need to know how to wear it correctly.

It is about what size your hat is. If you purchase a hard hat larger than your head, it will not fit properly, and you will need to adjust it now and then. The helmet can fall off the head during the time of you need it. Therefore, it is important to buy a hat that fits your head perfectly.

Do not wear your hat with its tip towards the back of your head. Otherwise, it will not absorb the shock if (God forbid) you hit by high voltage. Always strip the hat under your chin and make sure it is oriented correctly.

How to Adjust a Hard Hat?

Hard hats come with a different system of locking. Whether it be a belt or a lock system, make you fix it on your head properly. You are not wearing it correctly if it balances to and fro.

Try to adjust the collar if your hat has one. It will make the hat stable, and you can do your work without any hassle.

Safety Checks

There is no benefit if you purchase a hard hat, but it works like a baseball cap. The suspension is the most important part of your hard hat. If you see any signs of faulty suspension, you need to replace it immediately.

Care for the shell as well. If there is any crack, it is time to buy another one. Do not take this matter lightly. Especially, if you work on a site that has pieces of metal and wood.

Protecting your hat from UV damages is important too. If you work under direct sunlight and notice the outer shell color is fading, you need to replace the hat. Do not keep it under direct sunlight for hours.

It is recommended to replace a hard hat once every one year or less if needed. This is because of ensuring further protection. Do not hesitate to spend money on your hat. It is worth spending money on another hard hat and spending money for hospital bills.

Therefore, inspect the helmet periodically. Before going on the construction area, check for any dents and cracks. Test your hat by squeezing the sides of the helmet. If you hear any cracking noise or feel anything, replace it before an accident takes place.

Hard Hat Use-by date

There is no use-by date for hard hats. But, please record the date of issuing the hat to you inside the hat through a marker pen. Note the issuing date, not the date of manufacturing.  

Looking After Your Precious Hard Hat

  • Do not keep it under direct sunlight for too long.
  • Store it in a cool and dry place.
  • Keep it away from heavy and sharp objects as well as chemicals, paint thinners, cleaning agents, and solvent-based adhesives.
  • Clean periodically by scrubbing and immersing it in warm soapy water.
  • Replace sweat bands when needed.
  • Replace the hat if the color fades and loses the glossy finish and looks like chalky.

To Conclude

Hopefully, now you know pretty much everything about hard hats. You will find people does not care about wearing it. They are risking their precious life. Do not follow their footsteps.

I understand that wearing a hard hat might feel uncomfortable and sweaty. But when you think about your family, what would happen to them if you get injured and lay down in a hospital bed; you will get enough motivation to wear your hard hat.

Therefore, safety should be your first privilege if you are a construction worker. Be protective of your helmet. Whenever you see anything wrong with it, consider changing the hat as soon as possible.

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