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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