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Head Protection
National Summary

This topic covers OSHA’s regulations for head protection, which are a subset of its personal protective equipment (PPE) requirements. OSHA’s head protection regulations are designed to protect against the three primary causes of head injuries: falling or flying objects that strike or penetrate the head; bumping the head against a fixed object; and electrical shock or burns.

OSHA requires that employee wear protective helmets when working in areas where there is a risk of head injury from falling objects and when working near exposed electrical conductors that may contact the head. OSHA also suggests, but does not require, that employees wear protective helmets when there is a risk of bumping the head, such as when working near exposed pipes. Effective head protection should absorb shock, be resistant to penetration, resist water, burn slowly, and fit properly.

For related resources and training materials, refer to the following topics:


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Interpretations Acceptability of western style hard hats. 12/31/1998National
Interpretations Exemption from the requirement to wear hard hats for religious reasons.[1926.100; 1926.100(a)] 05/16/2001National
Directives 06/20/1994 - STD 1-6.5 - Exemption for Religious Reason from Wearing Hard Hats 07/22/2003National
Regulations 29 CFR § 1910.135 Head protection  National
Proposed Rules 29 CFR 1910, 1915, 1917, 1918, and 1926 - Updating OSHA Standards Based on National Consensus Standards; Head Protection 06/22/2012National
Final Rules 29 CFR 1910, 1915, 1917, 1918, and 1926 - Updating OSHA Standards Based on National Consensus Standards; Head Protection 06/22/2012National
Proposed Rules 29 CFR 1910, 1915, 1917, 1918, and 1926 - Updating OSHA Standards Based on National Consensus Standards; Head Protection 11/16/2012National
Final Rules 29 CFR 1910, 1915, 1917, 1918, and 1926 - Updating OSHA Standards Based on National Consensus Standards; Head Protection 11/16/2012National
Final Rules 29 CFR 1926 -- Updating OSHA Construction Standards Based on National Consensus Standards; Head Protection; Correction of Direct Final Rule 07/23/2012National
Proposed Rules 29 CFR 1926 -- Updating OSHA Construction Standards Based on National Consensus Standards; Head Protection; Correction of Notice of Proposed Rulemaking 07/23/2012National
Interpretations Acceptability of aluminum hard hats.[1910.135(b)] 06/25/2002National
Questions & Answers Can employees wear ball caps under their hard hats with the bill backwards to protect their neck from the sun? 06/10/2009National
Questions & Answers Can you give me some guidance/references on hard hat use for side impact? 03/25/2010National
Questions & Answers Do hard hats have an expiration date? 10/14/2009National
Questions & Answers Does an employee who unloads steel off of a flatbed trailer with a hoist have to wear a hard hat? 04/20/2010National
Interpretations Employees working on scaffolds and wearing of protective helmets. (1926.100) 11/10/1993National
Posters Even Hard Heads Need Hard Hats (PDF)  National
Interpretations Exemption from wearing hard hats.(1910.132) 01/26/1994National
Cartoons Frankenstein's hardhat  National
Quizzes Hard Facts on Hard Hats (PDF)  National
Handouts Hard Facts on Hard Hats (PDF)  National
Handouts Hard Facts on Hard Hats (PDF) -- Spanish  National
Quizzes Hard Facts on Hard Hats (PDF) -- Spanish  National
Trainer's Outlines Hard Facts on Hard Hats (PDF) [7-Minute Safety Trainer] (short outline)  National
Quizzes Hard Facts on Hard Hats (Word)  National
Handouts Hard Facts on Hard Hats (Word)  National
Trainer's Outlines Hard Facts on Hard Hats (Word) [7-Minute Safety Trainer] (short outline)  National
Handouts Hard Hat Do's and Dont's (PDF)  National
Interpretations Hard hat testing and certification requirements when the hard hat bill is worn to the rear.[1926.100(a); 1926.100(b); 1926.100] 04/17/2002National
Cartoons Hard Hats (JPG)  National
Puzzles Hard Hats (PDF)  National
Handouts Head Protection  National
Regulatory Analysis Head Protection  National
Safety Slogans Head Protection  National
Speaker's Notes Head Protection - Script View  National
Handouts Head Protection (PDF)  National
Handouts Head Protection (PDF)  National
Trainer's Guides Head Protection (PDF)  National
Checklists Head Protection (PDF)  National
Handouts Head Protection (PDF)  National
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