ISEA Offers Updated Industrial Head Protection Standard

Having received approval from the American National Standards Institute last month on its updated standard covering industrial head protection, including performance and testing requirements for hard hats, the International Safety Equipment Association is making copies of the standard available for $35 each, or less for bulk orders.

The standard, ANSI/ISEA Z89.1-2009, American National Standard for Industrial Head Protection, revises ANSI Z89.1-2003 and establishes the types and classes of protective helmets, depending on the type of hazard encountered. It includes specifications for helmets designed to offer protection from lateral impact, or top-only impact, giving employers and users the flexibility to specify the helmet that best meets the needs of their specific workplace.

Industrial head protective helmets meeting the requirements of this standard are classified as Type I for top protection, or Type II for lateral impact protection. Both types are tested for impact attenuation and penetration resistance. Type II helmet performance requirements include criteria for impact energy attenuation from impacts from the front, back, and sides as well as the top, off-center penetration resistance, and chin strap retention. The three classes indicate the helmets electrical insulation rating. Class G (general) helmets are tested at 2200 volts, Class E (electrical) are tested to withstand 20,000 volts, and Class C (conductive) provide no electrical protection.

Key updates contained in this version include optional testing and marking features for head protection devices that reflect end-user preferences. Most notable among these are specific testing parameters and marking for products that have high-visibility properties. "Given the focus that has been placed on worker visibility in recent times, it seemed logical to include high-visibility criteria for head protection devices," said Cristine Z. Fargo, ISEA manager of standards programs. "Hard hats continue to be one of the more popular PPE items in the workplace where both visibility and top of the head protection is needed. Including both criteria gives the end-user another tool for added protection."

In addition, the revised standard includes criteria for products that can be worn in the reverse position, which is preferred when performing some applications such as welding. "While earlier versions of the standard never addressed the issue, manufacturers are continually asked whether their products can be worn backwards and still provide protection," Fargo said. "Including a detailed protocol for reverse-wear will allow compliant products to be marked in a manner that is easily identifiable to the end-user."

For more information or to order, contact ISEA at (703) 525-1695 or Fargo at cfargo@safetyequipment.org. Orders also can be placed online at http://safetyequipment.org/order.html.

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