Hard hats are one of the most common types of personal protective equipment used today but are especially crucial in the mining industry. Required for a variety of jobs, miners especially need to ensure that they have a good quality hard hat. These hats protect a person’s head from falling or flying hazards, in addition to electrical shocks and even some burns.
One good way to ensure your miners’ safety is to invest in safe and secure underground mining technology, but it is also important to invest in quality hard hats for your miners to wear.
Many employers require that their workers wear a hard hat while on the job, but all hats are not created equal. The quality between hats can vary dramatically. These are the five most important considerations to keep in mind when purchasing a hard hat for mining.
1. Type of hats available
There are typically two types of hard hats available. One type is designed to protect the wearer against impact to the top of the head only. The second type of hard hat protects both the sides and the top of the head and are more commonly worn in construction areas.
While the latter type is going to be larger and heavier to wear, it can be a life-saving measure. The type of hat used must be in compliance with worksite standards so being mindful of these are essential to getting the one you need. Chances are your employer will require you to wear the type that covers the sides and top of your head if you are working in a mine.
2. Suspension considerations
The suspension system in a hard hat is the framework that helps to absorb and distribute energy if an object comes into contact with the hat. Most hats have a suspension system that has either four, six, or eight points. The number of points indicates how many connections there are between the hat and the suspension.
Hats with more suspension points have a greater ability to spread impact over a larger area. This means that if a person is struck with an object, the hat with more suspension points will have a lower amount of shock delivered to the head area. Since safety is the goal of a hard hat, having a larger point suspension system is a good idea.
3. Comfort & fit
A hard hat needs to fit snugly for appropriate protection but it should not be excessively tight. Since most miners are going to wear their hats for at least eight hours at a time, choose a hard hat that offers a comfortable fit. With advances in materials and head gear, the hard hats are more comfortable today than in previous years.
Make sure to consider the webbing that is built into the inside of the hat. Some sort of padding is also a good idea since it will offer improved protection and. The best way to determine if a hard hat is comfortable is to try a few different hats and determine which one works best for you.
4. Consider the class rating
Just like hard hats are available in different types, there are also a few classes which protect against different dangers in the workplace. A class rating of “G” means that the hard hat will protect against general hazards. A class “E” hat will protect against electrical shocks which may be important in some environments. Finally, a class “C” hat will protect against conductive dangers. Make sure to read the standard for hard hats and the recommendations if available.
Workers should also be mindful of their work environment and then use that information to choose the class of hat needed. It is a common misconception that all hard hats protect against the same things and wearing one that will not protect you against elements in your work environment could mean serious injury or even death.