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Be Seen With Your Hard Hat

Awareness from state and federal agencies across the United States to protect workers in low-visibility environments is a growing concern. Today, there are many solutions available to workers to help protect them against the hazards of not being seen. High-visibility personal protective equipment (PPE) can help protect workers from the dangers they face while working in low-visibility environments.

Head protection is not specifically covered by the ANSI/ISEA standard, although wearing high-visibility hard hats reflects safe thinking. Hard hats are required on almost every worksite and there are millions of hard hats in use in North America. States such as Missouri and New York have made it mandatory that roadway workers wear head protection with reflective striping. The sanitation workers in Lexington, Kentucky, wear high-visibility hard hats while on the job. Hard hats that are manufactured in high-visibility colors are a smart choice for workers and the perfect complement to high-visibility apparel. With several high-visibility options available, a hard hat can help workers be seen and be safe.

High-visibility shell colors for hard hats include orange, yellow and green. It’s important for workers to keep in mind their work environment when choosing a color. For instance, roadway workers need to stand out from the orange barrels and signs in their work environment so yellow or green might be better shell color choices. However, a high-visibility green color would not be the best choice in a densely-wooded area; orange would be a better choice. Keep in mind that high-visibility hard hats need to be checked frequently to be sure the color hasn’t faded. Prolonged ultraviolet rays can cause the color of the hard hat to fade and compromise workers’ safety. Remember not to store your hat in a rear window of a vehicle because it can become degraded by the sun’s rays.

Striping is another way to add high-visibility to a hard hat and increase worker safety. By using striping that is reflective and/or fluorescent in color, hard hats can provide enhanced worker visibility both day and night. The same highly reflective striping that is applied to clothing to meet the ANSI/ISEA 107-2015 standard also can be applied to hard hats. When reflective striping is ordered from the hard hat manufacturer, wearers’ can be assured that the striping has been tested so it doesn’t harm the hat.

To achieve improved retro-reflectance striping, manufacturers use a high candlepower (CPL) number. A wide range of stripes are available from reflective/fluorescent orange and yellow stripes with a CPL of 175 to reflective silver stripes with a CPL of 500. Striping can be added all the way around the brim of the hard hat to achieve 360-degree reflectivity and on the top of the hat to help workers be seen while bending or from other workers stationed above them. Many hard hat manufacturers customize head protection by applying striping as well as custom logos.  Choosing high-visibility products to keep workers safe is the smart choice.