Choosing the Right Safety Helmet

Safety helmets are personal protective equipment designed to protect the upper part of workers’ heads from falling or flying objects, impact, burns and electrical hazards. In the construction and mining industries, workers must be equipped with safety helmets.

Helmets are designed to resist perforation, water and fire. They absorb impact energy.

They are adjustable and must fit the worker’s head perfectly to ensure the best possible protection.

Safety helmets are available in different materials such as plastics and light metals (i.e. aluminum).

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  • How to choose a safety helmet?

    Productos Climax construction helmet

    It is important to take several factors into account when choosing a safety helmet.

    It is first necessary to identify the task to be carried out by the worker as well as the constraints and risks of the activity that need to be provided for. The level of protection required from a safety helmet varies according to the activity. For example, a construction helmet cannot be used for forestry work because it does not offer the same protection.

    The type of protection you should choose depends on the study of the accidentology of the task (UV treatment of the plastic, presence or not of a chinstrap, addition of hearing protection or a cooling cap when working in full sun, etc.).

    The worker’s head circumference and the comfort of use of the helmet must also be taken into account.

    It is also important to know how long the helmet will be worn by the operator. For a short period of time, a hard hat is a good option because it is easy to put on and take off. For longer periods, the helmet’s lightness should be considered. A high-performance safety helmet is a preferred option.

    Lastly, it is important to pay attention to the standards and regulations applicable in your country.

  • What are the different types of safety helmets?

    There are different types of helmets, each designed for specific applications. Please note that not all safety helmets offer the same level of protection, so be sure to choose one specifically designed for the application you are looking for.

    You will find a table below summarizing the type of helmet per application, the level of protection as well as the applicable standard (we will go into more detail on standards later) and the accessories available.

    Helmet Protection Accessories Applications Applicable standard
    Bump cap Resistant to light impacts that can cause superficial injuries.
    Not suitable for falling objects or projections.
    Can be equipped with an LED light. Basic work in an industrial environment without major risks (plumbing, maintenance, repair).
    Agri-food sector because it is easy to decontaminate.
    EN 812
    Safety helmet for general use Protection against falling objects and perforation by sharp objects. Is equipped with a cover (to deflect objects) and a cap (to absorb the shock).
    It also features an adjustable chinstrap and neckband for support.
    It can be equipped with other protections (for hearing, corrosive materials, high temperatures, etc.).
    Worksite
    Construction
    EN 397
    High-performance safety helmet Greater resistance to falling objects and perforation by sharp objects. Cover
    Cap
    Chinstrap
    Neckband
    Hazardous work EN 14052
    Electrician helmet High resistance to electrical currents (up to 440 volts, brief exposure). Cover
    Cap
    Chinstrap
    Neckband
    Electrical hazardous work EN 50365
    EN 397
    Forestry helmet Resistance to projections and falling wood. Visor (for eye protection).
    Anti-noise earmuffs (for hearing protection)
    Logging and brushcutting work
  • What is a safety helmet made of?

    A safety helmet is composed of three elements:

    • The cover (outer part) protects the head from impact.
    • The harness (inner part) provides shock absorption.
    • The chinstrap, an adjustable strap under the chin, keeps the helmet on the head. It is useful if you perform repeated movements.

    Some safety helmets, such as construction helmets, can also be equipped with inner caps (made of plastic or textile) to provide more comfort for the user.

    Safety helmets are also made of different materials. Three materials are particularly durable and resistant:

    • Polyethylene: 50% of helmets sold are polyethylene helmets.
    • Aluminum
    • Fiberglass: it has the advantage of being a lightweight material.
  • What are the European standards for safety helmets?

    Safety helmets are subject to different standards and regulations depending on the country or geographical area they will be used in.

    In Europe, helmets must be CE certified. Four standards are in force and provide a framework for four levels of protection.

    The EN 397 standard

    • This standard applies to commonly used helmets.
    • It must include resistance to impact, perforation and flammability.
    • Helmet accessories (harnesses, chinstrap…) are also subject to this standard.

    The EN 14052 standard

    • This standard applies to high performance safety helmets.
    • It is specific to industrial applications: the standard guarantees greater resistance to impact, including side impact, sharp objects and high temperatures.
    • This standard includes a chinstrap.

    The EN 812 standard

    • This standard applies to bump caps.
    • It dictates the resistance to impact and perforation.
    • The chinstrap is subject to this standard.
    • There are also optional requirements provided for in this standard (resistance to very low temperatures, flame, electrical tests, etc.).

    The EN 50365 standard

    • This standard applies to electrically insulating helmets for low-voltage operations.
    • It provides short time current protection (440 volts AC).
    • It also provides protection for voltages of 1,000 V AC and 1,500 V DC.
  • What are the classes of protection in North America?

     In the United States, the use of safety helmets is governed by the ANSI / ISEA Z89 standard. 1-2009. In Canada, the CSA Z94.1-2005 standard is used.

    According to these standards, we refer to types of safety helmets (to signify the level of protection against impact) and protection classes (which indicate the degree of electrical performance).

    Types of helmets: Type I and Type II

    • Type I: includes helmets resistant to impact to the top of the head.
    • Type II: includes helmets resistant to side impact to the top or the side of the head.

    Classes of helmets

    In accordance with the above-mentioned American and Canadian standards, safety helmets are divided into 3 classes of protection: Class C, Class G and Class E.

    • Class C (driver): includes helmets that do not offer any electrical protection. However, these helmets offer great breathability and ventilation.
    • Class G (general): includes the most common helmets, those that protect against voltages up to 2,200 volts.
    • Class E (electrical): includes helmets that protect against high voltage, offering dielectric protection up to 20,000 volts.
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