February 8, 2018

3 key points about the CSA Z94.1 hard hat standard

3 key points about the CSA Z94.1 hard hat standard

The CSA Z94.1 standard came into effect at the end of June 2016. The most important topics being outlined in the new standard are the new regulations around the maintenance of hard hats, the appropriate size and fitting and the definition of the different types of hard hats.

What is the CSA Z94.1 standard?

This standard applies to the selection, maintenance and use of industrial hard hats in the construction, mining, public utilities and forestry sectors. The standard defines:

  • The parts of the head that need to be protected;
  • The performance requirement for dielectric strength;
  • The impact attenuation;
  • The penetration resistance;
  • The stability;
  • The flammability.
Obviously, the standard does not apply to comfort, service life or appearance, as well as to bump caps, firefighter helmets, rescue helmets, crash helmets, sports helmets, recreation helmets or riot control helmets.

How to choose the right hard hat

The selection of hard hats is based on a risk analysis performed according to the work context and compatibility with the other equipment (for example, hearing protection devices). Here are the two types of hard hats:

  • Type 1 – Crown only headwear - where it can be shown that there is no hazard related to lateral impact. A reversible headwear should be selected if the procedure requires wearing the headwear backwards (i.e. welding). Where high-visibility headwear is required, refer to CAN/CSA-Z96 for color and retro-reflective tape requirements.
  • Type 2 – Crown and lateral headwear - designed for potential crown and lateral impact, where moving objects are present, such as manufacturing operations, construction and demolition sites, when the hazard assessment cannot determine the type.

Where the hazards are unknown for a task, a Type 2 shall be selected because it has the highest level of dielectric (20,000 V), crown (55 j) and lateral (30 j) protection.

Size and fitting

The fitting chart matches head circumference to hat size. The air gap between the top of the head and the crown of the headwear is a shock-absorption system for protection against impact. The suspension and nape straps shall be adjusted so the headwear is not worn with the peak pointing upward, with a baseball cap underneath or with nape straps at the front, in the case of reversed headwear. Baseball caps interfere with the suspension system.
Inspect headwear daily for cracks, dents, cuts, gouges, signs of wear, exposure to heat or sun noted by appearance or color or finish. Any headwear struck by an object should be replaced even with no noted signs of damage. The use of hair products, hair oils and perspiration, insecticides can affect suspension components. Inspect suspension system straps and clips for fraying, tears and cracks on a daily basis. If a Type 2 helmet has a damaged foam lining, replace the whole helmet.

Maintenance of the hard hat

Headwear maintenance involves cleaning with mild soap (no solvent, abrasive or petroleum-based products) and air dried without applying heat. Items should not be stored in between the suspension and the shell. In case of defect, components shall not be replaced even if they are from the same manufacturer. Instead, the hard hat must be replaced. The components shall not be painted; no holes shall be made in the shell; nor shall it be decorated or stored in a car where it may be overexposed to sunlight.

This article contains a summary of excerpts taken from the CSA Z94.1 standard and does not reflect the complete requirements that the standard prescribes. For all standard requirements or for the assessment of your equipment, don’t hesitate to contact one of our specialists.

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