You Could Be Exposed to Minor Bumps in Your Job. What Class of Hard Hat Will You Need to Wear?

Minor Bumps

Intro: Minor Bumps

In many industries, worker safety is a top priority, particularly when it involves head protection. Hard hats are a crucial piece of personal protective equipment (PPE) designed to protect against injuries from falling objects, impacts, and electrical hazards. However, not all hard hats are created equal. They are classified into different types and classes based on their design and the level of protection they offer. In this article, we will delve into the specifics of hard hat classes and determine which class of hard hat you need to wear if you are exposed to minor bumps in your job.

Understanding Hard Hat Classes

Hard hats are classified into three classes according to the ANSI/ISEA Z89.1-2014 standard in the United States. These classes indicate the level of protection the hard hat provides against electrical hazards:

Class G (General) Hard Hats

Class G hard hats are designed to protect against low voltage electrical conductors. They are tested to withstand up to 2,200 volts. These hard hats also provide impact and penetration resistance, making them suitable for a variety of construction and industrial applications.

Class E (Electrical) Hard Hats

Class E hard hats offer protection against high voltage electrical hazards. They are tested to withstand up to 20,000 volts. In addition to their electrical protection, they also provide robust impact and penetration resistance. These are typically used by utility workers and electricians.

Class C (Conductive) Hard Hats

Class C hard hats do not offer protection against electrical hazards. They are designed primarily for impact protection. These hard hats are often made from aluminum and are used in environments where there is no risk of electrical exposure.

Choosing the Right Hard Hat for Minor Bumps

When exposed to minor bumps in the workplace, it’s essential to choose a hard hat that provides adequate protection without over-specifying. Minor bumps usually occur in environments where there is a risk of head contact with stationary objects, such as in low-clearance areas or during maintenance tasks.

Impact Protection

For minor bumps, impact protection is the most critical factor. Both Class G and Class C hard hats provide excellent impact protection. Class G hard hats offer a balanced solution with additional protection against low voltage electrical hazards, while Class C hard hats focus purely on impact resistance.

Comfort and Fit

Comfort is crucial when selecting a hard hat for environments where minor bumps are a concern. Hard hats that fit well and are comfortable to wear for extended periods are more likely to be used correctly. Look for hard hats with adjustable suspension systems and sweatbands to enhance comfort.

Material Considerations

The material of the hard hat can also affect its suitability for minor bumps. Polyethylene is a common material for hard hats due to its lightweight and durable nature. Aluminum hard hats, typically Class C, are also durable but can be heavier and less comfortable over long periods.

Workplace Examples and Recommendations

To help you make an informed decision, let’s consider a few workplace scenarios where minor bumps are a common risk:

Construction Sites

In construction sites, workers often encounter low-hanging beams and other obstacles that can cause minor head injuries. For such environments, a Class G hard hat is recommended. It provides sufficient impact protection and the added benefit of low voltage electrical protection.

Manufacturing Facilities

In manufacturing facilities, particularly those with a lot of overhead equipment and machinery, workers can be exposed to minor bumps. A Class G or Class C hard hat can be suitable here, depending on the presence of electrical hazards. If electrical hazards are present, opt for Class G.


Warehouses with low-clearance areas and busy activity can pose risks of minor bumps. Here, a Class C hard hat might be adequate if there are no electrical hazards. The focus should be on ensuring impact protection and comfort.

Maintenance Work

Maintenance workers often deal with confined spaces and low ceilings, leading to minor bumps. A Class G hard hat is typically the best choice, providing both impact protection and low voltage electrical resistance, which is useful given the varied nature of maintenance tasks.

Maintaining Your Hard Hat

Ensuring that your hard hat remains in good condition is as important as choosing the right one. Here are some maintenance tips:

  • Regular Inspection: Check your hard hat regularly for cracks, dents, or any signs of wear and tear. Replace it if you find any damage.
  • Clean Properly: Use mild soap and water to clean your hard hat. Avoid harsh chemicals that can weaken the material.
  • Storage: Store your hard hat in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight and chemicals to prevent degradation.


Selecting the appropriate class of hard hat when exposed to minor bumps at your job is crucial for your safety and comfort. Class G and Class C hard hats are typically the best choices for such environments, offering robust impact protection with Class G providing additional electrical resistance. Always consider the specific needs of your workplace and ensure your hard hat is well-maintained to provide the best protection.

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