What Type of Hard Hats are Not ANSI Approved?

Hard hats are a must for every worker whose work area consists of any risk of hazard leading from getting hit on the head. Hard hats save the worker from any head injury do to hit bye above head objects hangings moving machinery’s and while loading and unloading objects.

What Type of Hard Hats are Not ANSI ApprovedBut not every hard hat can save you from the head injuries because the ones that are not approved by OSHA and meets the ANSI standards do not guarantee safety.

OSHA and ANSI approved hard hats meet all the requirements that are needed for your safety in the hazardous environment.

Class C hard hats that are also called bump hats or bump caps are not ANSI approved as they offer low impact protection and do not offer resistance to electric voltages and burns!

So, in this article I’m going to discuss about the categories of hard hats that are not OSHA and ANSI approved and also the comparison of the approved and not approved hard hats.

OSHA on hard hats:

OSHA requires wearing of PPE in order to protect oneself from the head injuries that can cause impairment or maybe fatal.

When you are working on a work site you might be exposed to different levels of hazards that can result in serious head injuries. The potential head injury hazards include penetration, impact call my bones and electric shocks.


      • Hard hats must meet ANSI standards and be appropriate for the job site. 
      • Wear head protection when there is a danger of falling objects from the above. 
      • Use only the appropriate class of hard hats for your particular job
      • Replace your hard hats that are being compromised. 
      • Always replace the hardhat that has sustained an impact even if you do not recognize any damage.
      •  Lastly remember to clean an inspect your hard hat on a regular basis for any crack or damages.

OSHA states:

      • Hard hats must meet standards set by the American National Standards Institute ANSI. 
      • Hard hats must be shown to provide protection that is equivalent to or better than the standard. Class A and Class B hard hats are ANSI approved. 
      • Bump hats are not ANSI approved, and they only protect against head bumps and lacerations.

Classification of hard hats

Hard hats are generally classified into the following 3 categories:

Class G:

Class G Hard Hat

Class G hard hats are by ANSI Z89.1-1986 as Class A hard hats. They provide resistance to impact, penetration and voltage up to 2200 volts.

Class E:

Class E Hard Hat

Class E hard hats are by ANSI Z89.1-1986 as Class B hard hats. They provide resistance to impact, penetration, voltage up to 20,000 volts and also offer burn protection.

Class C:

Class C hard hats

Class C hard hats are by ANSI Z89.1-1986 as Bump hats or Bump caps. These are not approved by ANSI as they are designed to provide protection from minimal impacts and provide lightweight comfort.

They actually only protect the head from getting bumped on to low-overhead clearances and do not at all protect against flying or falling objects. They also do not offer any electrical resistance.

See also: Best Hard hat for Electricians

Requirements of Hard Hats by OSHA

OSHA states that in order to protect the head of the workers from fatal injuries, hard hats must meet the following requirements:

      • They must provide resistance to penetration by objects
      • They must absorb the shock provide by a blow
      • They must be water-resistant
      • They must be very slow-burning
      • They must have electric shock absorbing lining
      • They must have an outer shell
      • All hard hats must meet the ANSI standard Z89.1-1986

Now let’s learn about the ANSI standards on hard hats:

The ANSI standard Z89.1-1986 for hard hats requires force penetration, flammability, apex penetration, and electrical insulation testing. The hard hats also require to pass the tests of energy attenuation, chin strap tests and off-center penetration tests.

Are bump hats ANSI approved?

Bumps hats also called as bump caps are Class C hard hats that offer protection against only minimum impact. Their work is to save your head from low-overhead clearances and do not save you from the flying and falling objects.

They do not offer any protection from high impact, voltage or burns and therefore, they are not approved by ANSI.

Are Class B hard hats OSHA approved?

Class B hard hats are definitely approved by OSHA as they not only provide protection against impact and penetration, but also offer protection against electric voltage as high as 20,000 volts. Besides all these, they also offer protection against burns that might occur in the presence of flammable substances.

They are in fact, the best hard hats that offer the maximum protection to the head in any hazardous environment.

Are aluminum hard hats OSHA approved?

Aluminum hard hats fall under the category of Class C hard hats that are designed only to provide protection against impact and penetration.

Also, aluminum is conductive and therefore, they are not approved by OSHA and ANSI in work areas where there a danger from electric shock. 

OSHA hard hat exemption

According to OSHA Instruction STD 1-6.5 June 20, 1994 Directorate of Compliance Programs:

OSHA grants exemption to workers, who due to personal religious convictions object to the wearing of hard hats in workplaces. 

The background of this exemption resulted from the following issued instruction:

“On October 30, 1978, OSHA instruction STD 1-6.3, exemption from wearing hard hats, was issued. This instruction superseded field information memorandum #75-11 dated February 4, 1975. The instruction provided an exemption from citations for hardhat violations for employers when their workers, who are members of the old order Amish or Sikh Dharma Brotherhood religious communities, failed to wear hard hats due to their personal religious convictions.”

Comparison of approved and not approved hard hats

OSHA approved hard hats OSHA non-approved hard hats
Class A & B hard hats are OSHA approved Class C hard hats are not approved by OSHA
They offer high impact protection They offer low impact protection
They offer protection from falling or flying objects They do not offer protection from falling or flying objects
They offer protection from electric voltages/electric shocks They do not offer any protection from electric shock
They protect against burns They do not protect against burns

It’s time to bid Adieu!

Wearing hard hats especially in construction sites is a must because head injuries are always fatal. Always inspect your hard hats for any cracks or damages before wearing it every day!

Proper care and maintenance of hard hats is essential!

That’s all for today! Hope to see you soon in my next article!

Till then….

Take care, stay safe and healthy and have a great day ahead!

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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