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OSHA Staff Switching to Safety Helmets for Improved Head Protection

Dec 19, 2023

OSHA compliance safety and health officers will begin wearing modern safety helmets rather than traditional hard hats.

While traditional hard hats protect the top of a worker’s head, they have minimal side impact protection and also lack chin straps. As a result, the hard hat can fall off a worker’s head if they slip or trip, leaving them unprotected.

On Nov. 22, 2023, OSHA published a Safety and Health Information Bulletin detailing key differences between traditional hard hats and more modern safety helmets, highlighting the advancements in design, materials and other features that better protect a worker’s entire heads. Today’s safety helmets may also offer face shields or goggles to protect against projectiles, dust and chemical splashes. Others offer built-in hearing protection and/or communication systems to enable clear communication in noisy environments.

The agency recommends safety helmets be used by people working in construction and the oil and gas industry; in high-temperature, specialized work and low-risk environments; performing tasks involving electrical work and working from heights; and when required by regulations or industry standards.

"We want employers to make safety and health a core value in their workplaces and are committed to doing the same by leading by example and embracing the evolution of head protection," the agency says.

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