What Class Hard Hat Do You Need for Minor Bumps?

For someone who works in construction knows the importance of hard hats and in what ways can they protect your head from severe injuries. Well, there are a variety of head protective gear and bump caps are one of them.

What you need to know is that there are slight differences between hard hats and bump caps but both play the same role of providing safety to your head. 

A bump cap, which is meant to provide comfortable, lightweight protection against worker-generated impact is not stronger than a hard hat. It is suitable for mild impacts only. Bump caps are useful in situations when wearing a hard hat is advised but not essential.

Hard Hat for Minor Bumps

Hard hats and bump caps are both types of personal protective equipment (PPE) that provide head protection, they are required on construction sites and anywhere there is a risk of falling objects.

When falling from a great height, even the tiniest bolt or screwdriver can gather enough speed to become lethal and injure your head.

Because of the diversions and risks in the environment, a person can easily slip and fall and bang their skull on solid ground. But the situations in which they’re employed differ depending on the type and amount of protection necessary. 

Bump caps protect workers from minor impacts such as bumping into or knocking into stationary items. A bump cap resembles a baseball cap or a hard hat made of thin plastic.

It has a softer, more compact shell than a hard hat and is usually equipped with a sun guard. Bump hats, on the other hand, are cushioned, unlike baseball caps.

Differences between Bump Cap and hard Hat

1.) Testing & safety standard

Bump Cap: According to OSHA, “bump caps aren’t ANSI-approved and aren’t meant to protect against falling or flying items.”

Always go for a product that meets the safety standard.

Hard Hat: In the US, hard hats must meet the OSHA and ANSI requirements. They go through rigorous testing which identifies the level of safety they can provide.

2.) Comfort

Bump Cap is comfortable, easy-to-adjust, and secure. Similar to a typical sun protection hat, but with a plastic liner and foam inside for comfort and is extremely lightweight.

Hard hats are comfortable and readily adjustable. And because it extends slightly from the head, it may feel slightly less stable than a bump cap.

3.) Durability

Bump Cap: There is no set lifespan for a bump cap. You can replace as needed due to wear and tear or major collisions.

Hard hat shells should be replaced every 12 months and should not be used for more than five years. However, it is also affected by usage and environment. (How Long are Hard Hats Good For?)

4.) Maintenance

Bump Cap: Before each usage, inspect carefully. Replace if there are any cracks or according to the replacement timetable. Bump caps are generally not as strong as hard hats so any small impact might cause it to break.

Hard hats are comparatively stronger and it requires a significant amount of impact to cause damage. However, If there are any signs of damage, then it should be replaced.

How do each of these protective headgears protect your head?

We can tell the difference between hard hats and bump caps by comparing their characteristics, but the best industry definition focuses on the movement involved. 

A bump hat is intended to protect the user from self-initiated motion, such as banging your head against a wall or other object. 

A hard helmet, on the other hand, is designed to protect against object-initiated motion, which occurs when an item approaches and collides with a person.

Therefore, the best head protection for the task is determined by the hazards that exist. A bump cap will generally be adequate if there is no threat of goods falling from above or moving objects posing an injury hazard.

However, this is a rare occurrence in the workplace. Most workplaces, as well as according to OSHA, require the use of hard hats because threats and dangers are never anticipated, and the fullest available safety covering is always recommended.

Why does OSHA recommend hard hats and not bump caps?

Your hard hats can act as a substitute for bump caps, but your bump caps can never take the place of a hard hat. That is because bump caps are not ANSI-approved, and hence are not OSHA-approved.

Bump caps will not protect you from falling items. They are never suited for workplaces where hard hats are required.

Hard hats go through various testing to get certified by OSHA and ANSI. There are various requirements by OSHA that a protective headgear must meet. 

So what are OSHA requirements for a protective headgear?

Here we give you reasons as to why bump hats are not OSHA and ANSI approved. 

1.) The hard hat must be of the appropriate kind and class (ANSI approved) for the hazardous situations. 

2.) The design of the hard hat must be resistant to impact, penetration, and electrocution.  

3.) To guarantee OSHA compliance, the hard hat should be subjected to testing standards. Employers should ensure that hard hats are completely compliant in addition to the normal testing performed by manufacturers.

The above mentioned points are sufficient to convince you that bump caps are not as protective when it comes to saving your head from impacts and injuries. 

Bump caps do protect your head from minor head strikes, but apart from that, are they useful at all?

Well yes, they do exist for a reason. Bump caps are affordable and less uncomfortable to wear. They also fit better when wearing other equipment, such as a welder’s face mask or while working in restricted places.  

Your workplace may authorise the use of bump caps in instances when the only thing moving is the employee, and that too at a slow speed, for example crawling inside a closet to access plumbing pipes or working on an engine.

Even a scratch or cut from an exposed nail or piece of equipment might cause you to stop working and seek medical care, which you can prevent by wearing a bump cap.

Bump caps are ideal for whom?

Anyone who works in small, restricted places where hard hats are not necessary. While hard hats are great for working in open construction environments where falling debris and/or equipment are a regular hazard, they can be inconvenient for those working in cramped and confined places.

You’re more likely to knock your head than get hit by a falling block while you’re manoeuvring beneath overhanging pipes, low ceilings, and dangling risks.

While worker-generated hits may appear to be less severe than object-generated impacts, they can result in nasty cuts and bruises, concussions, and, as previously said, significant medical costs.

What should you look for in your bump cap?

      • They come with impact and abrasion resistant features.
      • It should provide enough ventilation to minimise overheating. 
      • Comfortable lightweight shell with cushioned padding.
      • Hands-free LED illumination increases its usefulness. 

Bump caps should never be used where hard hats are required since they are tested to a different standard than hard hats. The European standard EN 812: 2012 is currently the only bump cap standard in the world.

Recommended bump caps for you

1.) Ergodyne Skullerz Bump Cap

This bump cap is super comfy and lightweight and provides good ventilation so that sweat doesn’t accumulate. 

Check it out here- 

2.) Pyramex Safety Bump Cap

This is a two in one cap that can be used for your baseball game as well as to protect you from those minor bumps. It has soft cushioning for extra comfort. 

Check it out here-

3.) Jackson Lightweight Bump Cap

This bump cap offers defence against small bumps and scalp bruising. It is comfortable and versatile as it can be adjusted with face shields. 

You can check it out here-


Can you use bump hats on construction sites or any other similar workplace?

Most likely not. That’s because if a brick is dropped on your head, a bump cap will not protect you in the same way as a hard hat would. (Can I Wear Bump Caps on Construction Site?)

Can you use your baseball cap as a bump cap?

Baseball hats have no cushioning and provide no impact protection. The sun protection provided by the shield is its only safety feature. 

However, your baseball caps may be changed to bump caps by inserting bump cap inserts. 

You can check out this bump cap insert by Sunnyside-


Head protection is extremely crucial especially in a hazardous environment. You need to take full precaution to prevent any harm to your head.

Eventually, it all comes down to the point that you need to be vigilant and understand your work environment and accordingly, choose a protective headgear, whether it is hard hats or bump caps. 

Stephen Luettgen
I have 12+ years of experience in construction, inspections, handy work, and currently working as a Construction Site Manager. In today’s day we spent a significant part of our time at workplace and a right work gear can have significant impact not only on your safety but also work quality.

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