Personal Protective Equipment - Cold Environments

People who work in cold temperatures such as freezer plants, meat-packing houses, cold storage facilities, lumbering, telecommunications, and electric utilities must deal with cold environments. The frequency of worker accidents is higher in cold environments because nerve impulses are inhibited and hands can stiffen and become clumsy. Temperature-related safety problems include ice, snow blindness, reflections from snow, and burns from skin contact with cold metal surfaces.
The main factors contributing to cold injury are exposure to humidity and high winds, contact with wetness or metal, inadequate clothing, age, and general health. Contributing physical conditions include allergies, vascular disease, excessive smoking and drinking, sedative drugs, and some medicines. Cold disorders are classified as “generalized” as in hypothermia or “localized” such as frostbite.

Generalized: Hypothermia

Exposure to cold can cause the body’s internal temperature to drop to a dangerously low level. This condition is known as hypothermia. It can occur at temperatures above freezing. Cold, wet, windy conditions are ideal for causing hypothermia.
  • Uncontrollable shivering;
  • Sensation of cold;
  • Inability to use the hands;
  • Vague, slow, or slurred speech;
  • Memory lapses or forgetfulness;
  • Frequent stumbling; and
  • Incoherence and drowsiness.

Localized: Frostbite

Frostbite occurs when the body extremities do not receive sufficient heat, either because of poor circulation or inadequate insulation. Body tissue which freezes due to exposure to extremely low temperatures results in tissue damage. The most vulnerable body parts include the nose, cheeks, ears, fingers, and toes.
  • Sensation of coldness, followed by numbness
  • Skin becomes bright red, then small patches of white appear as freezing actually occurs;
  • A tingling, stinging, or aching feeling may follow;
  • Skin becomes less elastic;
  • Initial pain is felt, which subsides; and
  • Blisters may appear.
Frostnip occurs when the face or extremities are exposed to a cold wind which causes the skin to turn white.

Evaluating work conditions

The effects of cold temperatures on workers can be reduced through appropriate protective clothing, heating units, and other protective devices such as:
  • Heated warming shelter at work site.
  • General or spot heating to increase workplace temperature.
  • Warm air jets or radiant heaters to warm the hands of employees performing fine hand work.
  • Shields for job site protection from wind and drafts.
  • Metal tool handles and control bars should be covered with insulating material.
  • Appropriate and adequate clothing worn by workers. Dirty or greasy fabric looses much of its insulation value. Clothing should be cotton or wool, denim has poor insulating qualities. Boots, mittens or gloves should be insulated and face and head protection should be worn.
  • Chemical-resistant gloves should be available for chemical handling operations.

Evaluating the facility

Buildings should be evaluated for adequate protection from cold weather. Cold weather damage most often occurs in exposed, out-of-the-way areas of a facility during weekends or other shutdown periods. Failure to identify areas likely to be susceptible to cold weather damage and improper maintenance also contribute to cold weather damage.

General Life-Threatening Hazards

Water protection

A Coast Guard-approved life jacket or buoyant work vest should be used if there is danger of falling into water while working. For emergency rescue operations, boats and ring buoys with at least 90 feet of line must be provided.


Night workers and flagmen who might be struck by moving vehicles need suits or vests designed to reflect light.

Lifelines and safety nets

In jobs involving potential fall hazards, lifelines, body harnesses, and/or lanyards must be used. If lifelines are used where they might be cut accidentally, they should be padded or otherwise protected. Rope should have a strength of 5,400 pounds. Lifelines should be inspected regularly to assure their perfect condition.
Lanyards should be of at least 1/2-inch nylon or the equivalent and should be short enough to allow a fall no greater than six feet. They must be firmly secured above the working surface. Body harnesses are required for personal fall arrest systems.
Nets should be used when a lifeline or a body harness is not practical. Forged steel, safety hooks, or shackles should be used to fasten a net to its supports. The mesh should be no larger than 6 x 6 and the nets should extend beyond the edge of the work surface. Safety nets must be tested to ensure that they are tight enough to prevent an employee from making contact with any surface or structure below.

Heat stress

Wearing PPE puts a worker at considerable risk of developing heat stress. This can result in health effects ranging from transient heat fatigue to serious illness or death. Heat stress is caused by a number of interacting factors, including environmental conditions, clothing, workload, and the individual characteristics of the worker.
Individuals vary in their susceptibility to heat stress. Factors that may predispose someone to heat stress include:
  • Lack of physical fitness, lack of acclimatization, age,
  • Dehydration, obesity, substance abuse, infection,
  • Sunburn, diarrhea, and chronic disease.
Reduced work tolerance and the increased risk of excessive heat stress is directly influenced by the amount and type of PPE worn. PPE adds weight and bulk, severely reduces the body’s access to normal heat exchange mechanisms (evaporation, convection, and radiation), and increases energy expenditure.
When selecting PPE, each item’s benefit should be carefully evaluated in relation to its potential for increasing the risk of heat stress. Once PPE is selected, the safe duration of work/rest periods should be determined based on the:
  • Anticipated work rate,
  • Ambient temperature and other environmental factors,
  • Type of protective ensemble, and
  • Individual worker characteristics and fitness.

Physical condition

Physical fitness is a major factor influencing a person’s ability to perform work under heat stress. The more fit someone is, the more work he/she can safely perform.
At a given level of work, a fit person, relative to an unfit person, will have:
  • Less physiological strain;
  • A lower heart rate;
  • A lower body temperature, which indicates less retained body heat (a rise in internal temperature precipitates heat injury);
  • A more efficient sweating mechanism;
  • Slightly lower oxygen consumption; and
  • Slightly lower carbon dioxide production.

Level of acclimatization

The degree to which a worker’s body has physiologically adjusted or acclimatized to working under hot conditions affects his or her ability to do work. Acclimatized individuals generally have lower heart rates and body temperatures than unacclimatized individuals, and sweat sooner and more profusely.
This enables them to maintain lower skin and body temperatures at a given level of environmental heat and work loads than unacclimatized workers. Sweat composition also becomes more dilute with acclimatization, which reduces bone loss.

Revision 6/08 Foot Protection

Employees have to wear protective footwear when working in areas where there is a danger of foot injuries due to falling or rolling objects, or objects piercing the sole, and where employees’ feet are exposed to electrical hazards. In the foot protection standard, OSHA requires that safety shoes and boots must meet the protective criteria defined in the ANSI Z41-1991 standard for both impact and compression protection.
However, in 2005, two new industry standards for protective footwear, ASTM F 2412, Test Methods for Foot Protection, and F 2413, Specification for Performance Requirements for Protective Footwear replaced ANSI Z41, which was withdrawn. The ASTM standards contain minimal changes from the withdrawn ANSI Z41-1999 standard with regard to test methodology and will permit the continued use of safety and performance standards previously provided in the ANSI document.
The ASTM standards continue the long-standing effort to protect against toe, metatarsal, and foot bottom injuries and contain expanded information on upper Class 50 and Class 75 toe protection performance requirements. The major performance characteristics that have changed are the removal of those for Type II Static Dissipative and Class 30 for impact and compression requirements.
Since the withdrawal of ANSI Z41, all new footwear found in compliance with the ASTM F 2412-05 and ASTM F 2413-05 standards may be labeled as such. References to the old ANSI Z41 can be replaced with labeling indicating that the footwear is compliant with the ASTM standards for new products. OSHA’s protective footwear regulation at §1910.136(b) continues to require that footwear purchased after July 5, 1994 has to meet the construction criteria established by ANSI Z41-1991, or be demonstrated by the employer to be equally effective.
Safety shoes or boots with impact protection would be required for carrying or handling materials such as packages, objects, parts or heavy tools which could be dropped, and for other activities where objects might fall onto the feet. Safety shoes or boots with compression protection would be required for work activities involving skid trucks (manual material handling carts) around bulk rolls (such as paper rolls) and heavy pipes, all of which could potentially roll over employees’ feet. Safety shoes or boots with puncture protection would be required where sharp objects could be stepped on, causing a foot injury.
According to the BLS survey, most of the workers in selected occupations who suffered impact injuries to the feet were not wearing protective footwear. Furthermore, most of their employers did not require them to wear safety shoes. The typical foot injury was caused by objects falling less than four feet and the median weight was about 65 pounds. Again, most workers were injured while performing their normal job activities at their worksites.
For protection of feet and legs from falling or rolling objects, sharp objects, molten metal, hot surfaces, and wet slippery surfaces workers should use appropriate footguards, safety shoes, or boots and leggings.
Aluminum alloy, fiberglass, or galvanized steel footguards can be worn over usual workshoes, although they present the possibility of catching on something and tripping workers. Heat-resistant soled shoes protect against hot surfaces like those found in the roofing, paving, and hot metal industries.
Leggings protect the lower leg and feet from molten metal or welding sparks. Safety snaps permit their rapid removal.

Other foot and leg protection

Other options for protective footwear include:
  • Shoes and boots with instep protection;
  • Insulated boots for protection against extreme temperatures;
  • Boots with built-in ankle protection;
  • Rubber or plastic safety boots that are effective against water, oil, acids, corrosives, and chemicals;
  • Foundry shoes with elastic gores rather than laces to provide easy removal in case sparks or hot metal get inside; and
  • Add-on protections such as metatarsal guards, shoe covers, rubber spats, strap-on cleats, and puncture-proof steel inserts.
Aluminum alloy, fiberglass, or galvanized steel footguards can be worn over usual workshoes, although they present the possibility of catching on something and tripping workers.
Heat-resistant soled shoes protect against hot surfaces like those found in the roofing, paving, and hot metal industries.
Leggings protect the lower leg and feet from molten metal or welding sparks. Safety snaps permit their rapid removal.

Other types of hand protection

Finger cots that protect a single finger or fingertip.
Mitts with two divisions, one for the thumb and another for the fingers.
Thimbles that protect the thumb or the thumb and first two fingers.
Hand pads that protect the palm of the hand from cuts, friction, and burns from hot objects. These can’t be used when manual dexterity is required.
Sleeves or forearm cuffs protect the arms and wrists from heat, splashing liquids, impact, and cuts.
Hand lotions and barrier creams are best used with gloves or finger protection and should not be considered a substitute for gloves.
Protection factors 
Type of glove
Acids, bases, caustics, solvents, diluted-water solutions of chemicals, alcohol — high resistance to cuts
Canvas or cloth
Dirt, wood slivers, sharp edges
Metal mesh
High resistance to cuts and scratches
Electrical charges
Heat and flames
Hypo-allergenic and powder-free
Skin problems in workers with allergies
Liquids trickling down into the glove
Nitrile (synthetic rubber)
Oils, many solvents, esters, grease and animal fat — high resistance to cuts and abrasions
Broad range of chemicals, oils, acids, caustics and solvents — less resistant to cuts, punctures and abrasions than nitrile
Polyvinyl chlorine (PVC)
Acids, caustics, alkalis, bases and alcohol — good abrasion and cut resistance (some types are susceptible to cuts)
Polyvinyl alcohol (PVA)
Aromatics, chlorinated solvents, esters and most ketones — resists cuts, punctures and abrasion (PVA breaks down when exposed to water and light alcohol)
Ethylene vinyl alcohol (EVOH) also called flat film gloves
Highly resistant to chemicals and hazardous materials — little resistance to cuts and tears (usually worn as a liner under PVC or nitrile gloves)
Acetone and dimethyl formamide — not useful against cuts, punctures, and abrasions
Benzene, methylene chloride and carbon disulfide — little resistance to cuts, punctures, and abrasions

Revision 6/08 Hand Protection

Select and require employees to use appropriate hand protection when their hands are exposed to hazards such as:
  • Skin absorption of harmful substances,
  • Severe cuts or lacerations,
  • Severe abrasions,
  • Punctures,
  • Chemical burns,
  • Thermal burns, and
  • Harmful temperature extremes.
Base your selection of the appropriate hand protection on the performance characteristics of the hand protection relative to the tasks to be performed, conditions present, duration of use, and the hazards and potential hazards identified.
Gloves are often relied on to prevent cuts, abrasions, burns, and skin contact with chemicals that are capable of causing local or systemic effects following dermal exposure. But, there is no one glove that provides protection against all potential hand hazards, and commonly available glove materials provide only limited protection against many chemicals. Therefore, it’s important to select the most appropriate glove for a particular application, determine how long it can be worn, and whether it can be reused.
It is also important to know the performance characteristics of gloves relative to the specific hazard. These performance characteristics should be assessed by using standard test procedures. Before purchasing gloves, request documentation from the manufacturer that the gloves meet the appropriate test standard(s) for the hazard(s) anticipated.
Other factors to be considered for glove selection include:
  • Replacement: As long as the performance characteristics are acceptable, it may be more cost effective to regularly change cheaper gloves than to reuse more expensive types.
  • Work activities: Study how the employee performs job tasks to determine the degree of dexterity required, the duration, frequency, and degree of exposure of the hazard, and the physical stresses that will be applied.
When selecting gloves for protection against chemical hazards:
  • Determine the toxic properties of the chemical(s);
  • Generally, any “chemical resistant” glove can be used for dry powders;
  • For mixtures and formulated products (unless specific test data is available), select a glove on the basis of the chemical component with the shortest breakthrough time, since it is possible for solvents to carry active ingredients through polymeric materials; and
  • Be sure employees can remove the gloves in such a way as to prevent skin contamination.


Teach employees to wash hands often to prevent a build-up of sweat and dirt. It’s this combination that can cause skin irritation for the glove wearer. Check gloves for cracks and holes, especially at the tips and between the fingers and replace worn or damaged gloves promptly. Keep gloves clean and dry as much as practical and it’s a good idean to keep a spare pair of gloves for unexpected damage or loss.

Torso Protection

Many hazards can threaten the torso:
  • Heat,
  • Splashes from hot metals and liquids,
  • Impacts and cuts,
  • Acids, and
  • Radiation.
A variety of protective clothing is available, including vests, jackets, aprons, coveralls, and full body suits.


Wool and specially treated cotton are two natural fibers which are fire-resistant and comfortable since they adapt well to changing workplace temperatures.
Duck, a closely-woven cotton fabric, is good for light duty protective clothing. It can protect against cuts and bruises on jobs where employees handle heavy, sharp, or rough material.
Heat-reflecting clothing such as leather is often used to guard against dry heat and flame. Rubber and rubberized fabrics, neoprene, and plastics give protection against some acids and chemicals.
Disposable suits of paper-like material are particularly important for protection from dusty materials or materials that can splash. If the substance is extremely toxic, a completely enclosed suit may be necessary. The clothing should be inspected to assure proper fit and function for continued protection.

Hearing Protection

Exposure to high noise levels can cause hearing loss or impairment. It can create physical and psychological stress. There is no cure for noise-induced hearing loss, so the prevention of excessive noise expossure is the only way to avoid hearing damage. Specifically designed protection is required, depending on the type of noise encountered.
Preformed or molded ear plugs should be individually fitted by a professional. Waxed cotton, foam, or fiberglass wool earplugs are self-forming. When properly inserted, they work as well as most molded earplugs.
Some earplugs are disposable, to be used one time and then thrown away. The non-disposable type should be cleaned after each use for proper protection. Plain cotton is ineffective as protection against hazardous noise.
Earmuffs need to make a perfect seal around the ear to be effective. Glasses, long sideburns, long hair, and facial movements, such as chewing, can reduce protection. Special equipment is available for use with glasses or beards.
For extremely noisy situations, earplugs should be worn in addition to earmuffs. When used together ear-plugs and earmuffs change the nature of sounds; all sounds are reduced including one’s own voice, but other voices or warning signals are easier to hear.


Disposable and reusable earplugs:
  • Wash hands and inspect plugs before insertion;
  • Wash reusable plugs daily and store in a clean case;
  • Replace plugs that are hard or discolored as soon as possible;
  • Make sure the plug fits properly inside the ear canal. If done correctly, the wearer’s voice will sound louder to him/her; and
  • With headband plugs, do not bend or twist the band.
  • Check cushions with each use and wash them as needed; and
  • Ensure that there is a tight fit as loose muffs will not reduce the noise.

Inspection and maintenance | Eye and Face Protection

It is essential that the lenses of eye protectors be kept clean. Continuous vision through dirty lenses can cause eye strain — often an excuse for not wearing the eye protectors. Daily inspection and cleaning of the eye protector with soap and hot water, or with a cleaning solution and tissue, is recommended.
Pitted lenses, like dirty lenses, can be a source of reduced vision and should be replaced. Deep scratches or excessively pitted lenses are apt to break more readily.
Slack, worn-out, sweat-soaked, or twisted headbands do not hold the eye protector in proper position. Visual inspection can determine when the headband elasticity is reduced to a point beyond proper function.
Goggles should be kept in a case when not in use. Spectacles, in particular, should be given the same care as one’s own glasses, since the frame, nose pads, and temples can be damaged by rough usage.
Personal protective equipment which has been previously used should be disinfected before being issued to another employee. Even when each employee is assigned protective equipment for extended periods, it is recommended that such equipment be cleaned and disinfected regularly.
Several methods for disinfecting eye-protective equipment are acceptable. The most effective method is to disassemble the goggles or spectacles and thoroughly clean all parts with soap and warm water. Carefully rinse all traces of soap, and replace defective parts with new ones.
Swab thoroughly or completely immerse all parts for 10 minutes in a solution of germicidal deodorant fungicide. Remove parts from solution and suspend in a clean place for air drying at room temperature or with heated air. Do not rinse after removing parts from the solution because this will remove the germicidal residue which retains its effectiveness after drying.
The dry parts or items should be placed in a clean, dust-proof container, such as a box, bag, or plastic envelope, to protect them until reissue.
Eye and face protection selection chart 
Assessment of hazard
Impact — Chipping, grinding machining, masonry work, woodworking, sawing, drilling, chiseling, powered fastening, riveting, and sanding.
Flying fragments, objects, large chips, particles sand, dirt, etc
Spectacles with side protection, goggles, face shields. See notes [(1)][(3)][(5)][(6)][(10)]. For severe exposure, use faceshield.
Heat — Furnace operations, pouring, casting, hot dipping, and welding.
Hot sparks
Faceshields, goggles, spectacles with side protection. For severe exposure use faceshield. See notes [(1)][(2)][(3)].
Splash from molten metals
Faceshields worn over goggles. See notes [(1)][(2)][(3)].
High temperature exposure
Screen face shields, reflective face shields. See notes [(1)][(2)],[(3)].
Chemicals — Acid and chemicals handling, degreasing plating.
Goggles, eyecup and cover types. For severe exposure, use face shield. See notes [(3)][(11)].
Irritating mists
Special-purpose goggles.
Dust — Woodworking, buffing, general dusty conditions.
Nuisance dust
Goggles, eyecup and cover types. See note [(8)].
Light and/or radiation —
Welding: Electric arc
Optical radiation
Welding helmets or welding shields. Typical shades: 10–14. See notes [(9)][(12)].
Welding: Gas
Optical radiation
Welding goggles or welding faceshield. Typical shades: gas welding 4–8, cutting 3– 6, brazing 3–4. See note [(9)].
Cutting, torch brazing, torch soldering
Optical radiation
Spectacles or welding faceshield. Typical shades, 1.5–3. See notes [(3)][(9)].
Poor vision
Spectacles with shaded or special-purpose lenses, as suitable. See notes [(9)][(10)].
Notes to eye and face protection selection chart:

Selection & Fitting | Eye and Face Protection

Each eye, face, or face-and-eye protector is designed for a particular hazard. In selecting the protector, Revision 6/08 consider the kind and degree of hazard. Where there is a choice of protectors and the degree of protection required is not an important issue, worker comfort may be a deciding factor. The BLS survey showed that few Revision 6/08workers ever complained about poor vision or discomfort with personal eye equipment.
Persons using corrective spectacles and those who are required by OSHA to wear eye protection must wear face shields, goggles, or spectacles of one of the following types:
  • Spectacles with protective lenses providing optical correction;
  • Goggles worn over corrective spectacles without disturbing the adjustment of the spectacles; or
  • Goggles that incorporate corrective lenses mounted behind the protective lenses.
When limitations or precautions are indicated by the manufacturer, they should be transmitted to the user and strictly observed.
Over the years many types and styles of eye and face-and-eye protective equipment have been developed to meet the demands for protection against a variety of hazards.
Revision 6/08 Goggles come in a number of different styles:
  • Revision 6/08 Eyecups,
  • Revision 6/08 Flexible or cushioned goggles,
  • Revision 6/08 Plastic eyeshield goggles, and
  • Revision 6/08 Foundrymen’s goggles.
Revision 6/08 Goggles are manufactured in several styles for specific uses such as protecting against dust and splash, and in chipper’s, welder’s, and cutter’s models.
Revision 6/08 Safety spectacles require special frames. Combinations of normal streetwear frames with safety lenses do not provide adequate protection and are not in compliance.
Many hard hats and nonrigid helmets are designed with face and eye protective equipment.
Design, construction, testing, and use of eye and face protection must be in accordance with ANSI Z87.1-1968 if the equipment was purchased before July 5, 1994 and in accordance with ANSI Z87.1-1989 if the devices were purchased after July 5, 1994.


Fitting of goggles and safety spectacles should be done by someone skilled in the procedure. Prescription safety spectacles should be fitted only by qualified optical personnel.

Eye and Face Protection

Revision 6/08 Employees have to use appropriate eye or face protection when exposed to eye or face hazards from flying particles, molten metal, liquid chemicals, acids or caustic liquids, chemical gases or vapors, or potentially injurious light radiation. Eye protection with side protectors is required where there is a hazard from flying objects. Workers who wear contact lenses must wear eye protection over the lenses. Eye and face PPE has Revision 6/08 to be distinctly marked to identify the manufacturer. Filtered lenses should always be the appropriate shade number for the work being performed.
Protective eye and face devices purchased after July 5, 1994 must comply with ANSI Z87.1-1989 or be demonstrated to be equally effective. Devices purchased before that date must comply with ANSI Z87.1-1968 or be equally effective. General guidance for the proper selection of eye and face protection against hazards associated with the listed hazard “source” operations.
Eye and face protective equipment is required by OSHA where there is a reasonable probability of preventable Revision 6/08 injury when such equipment is used. Provide a type of protector suitable for work to be performed and ensure that employees use the protectors. This applies to supervisors, management personnel, and should apply to visitors while they are in hazardous areas.
A BLS study found that about 60 percent of workers who suffered eye injuries were not wearing eye protective equipment. When asked why they were not wearing face protection at the time of the accident, workers indicated that face protection was not normally used or practiced in their type of work, or it was not required for the type of work performed at the time of the accident.
Revision 6/08 Provide suitable eye protectors where machines or operations present the hazard of flying objects, glare, liquids, injurious radiation, or a combination of these hazards. Protectors have to meet the following minimum requirements:
  • Provide adequate protection against particular hazards for which they are designed;
  • Be reasonably comfortable when worn under the designated conditions;
  • Fit snugly without interfering with the movements or vision of the wearer;
  • Be durable;
  • Be capable of being disinfected;
  • Be easily cleanable; and
  • Be kept clean and in good repair.
The National Society to Prevent Blindness recommends that emergency eyewashes be placed in all hazardous locations. First aid instructions should be posted close to such potential danger spots since any delay to immediate aid or an early mistake in dealing with an eye injury can result in lasting damage.

Helmet types and classes | Head Protection

Protective helmets are classified according to the impact and electrical performance requirements they are designed to meet. In 1997, ANSI updated its head protection standard and changed the type and class designations of protective helmets.
Type: The old designations of Type 1 (hats) and Type 2 (caps) are no longer used. Performance requirements for the new Type 1 helmet are equivalent to those specified in the 1986 standard. Type 2 helmet performance requirements include protection from impact to the front, back and sides as well as the top; off-center penetration resistance; and chin strap retention.
Classification: New electrical insulation classifications have replaced the 1986 classifications. They are Class G (general), Class E (electrical), and Class C (conductive-no electrical protection). These classes replace the 1986 classifications of A, B and C respectively.
Types and classes-ANSI Z89.1-1986 
Protective helmet
Helmet with full brim, not less than 1.25 inches wide.
Brimless helmet with a peak extending forward from the crown.
Protective helmet
Intended for protection against impact hazards and provide limited voltage protection.
Provide impact and penetration protection from falling or flying objects and from high-voltage shock and burn. Used extensively by electrical workers.
Designed specifically for light-weight comfort and impact protection. Offers no dielectric protection, often referred to as a “bump cap.”
Types and classes-ANSI Z89.1-1997 
Helmets intended to reduce the force of impact resulting from a blow only to the top of the head.
Helmets intended to reduce the force of impact resulting from a blow which may be received off center or to the top of the head.
Electrical class
Protective helmet
G (General)
Class G helmets are intended to reduce the danger of contact exposure to low voltage conductors. Test samples are prooftested at 2,200 volts (phase to ground). However, this voltage is not intended as an indication of the voltage at which the helmet protects the wearer.
E (Electrical)
Class E helmets are intended to reduce the danger of exposure to high voltage conductors. Test samples are proof-tested at 20,000 volts (phase to ground). However, this voltage is not intended as an indication of the voltage at which the helmet protects the wearer.
C (Conductive)
Class C helmets are not intended to provide protection against contact with electrical conductors.

Proper fit

Helmets are available in either “one size fits all” or individually adjustable. To provide the best protection, a safety helmet must fit properly to ensure that it will not fall off during work operations.
The headband is the part of the harness that encircles the head. It should be adjustable in at least 1/8-hat size increments.
  • Adjust the headband to the proper size so there is adequate clearance between the shell and the headband and space to allow ventilation.
  • If a sweatband is used, it must cover at least the forehead portion of the headband.
Chin and nape straps
The chinstrap is an adjustable strap that fits under the chin and attaches to the helmet. A nape strap fits behind the head. These straps may be necessary to keep the helmet on the worker’s head.
  • Adjust the straps so they remain in place and the helmet stays firmly on the head.
  • The strap should, however, break at a reasonably low force to prevent a strangulation hazard.

Care and maintenance

Clean the shell with hot water and a mild detergent, then rinse with clear water. When the helmet is dry, check for signs of cracks, penetration, or other damage due to rough treatment or wear. It’s a good idea to inspect the helmet daily, or prior to each use. If the helmet is damaged, it should not be worn.
Consult the manufacturer before painting a helmet shell or using a solvent to clean it. Some paints and solvents may damage the shell and reduce its protective level.
Holes should never be drilled or punched in a helmet shell for ventilation. This only serves to reduce the helmet’s ability to sustain impact. Class E helmets must never have holes drilled in the shell or any added accessory that contains metal.
Do not store a safety helmet on the rear window shelf of a vehicle. Overexposure to ultraviolet light such as sunlight and extreme heat may cause the shell to deteriorate.
A snug fitting helmet liner can be worn to protect the head, ears, and neck in cold weather.

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