When you think about head protection, Tim Gallant, Ergodyne product director, said you probably think of hard hats.
“They’ve been around for a long time, over a century,” Gallant said.
There are a couple of different types of hard hats under the ANSI/ISEA Z89.1 standard that are used in the U.S.
“The hard hats people typically think of are ANSI/ISEA Z89.1 Type 1 hard hats and they’re really meant to protect you from things coming at you from above, such as a tool dropping on you from someone working above you,” he said.
A newer solution in head protection is the safety helmet, which adds protection from impacts coming at you from the front, rear and sides. Safety helmets grew out of a European standard (EN12492) for mountaineering and climbing.
“They, like ANSI/ISEA Z89.1 Type 2 hard hats (in the United States), provide some front, rear and side protection, as well as add a chin strap to make sure that the helmet stays on your head in case of a fall, for example,” he said.
Hard hats and safety helmets such as ANSI/ISEA Z89.1 Type 1 and 2 are designed for object-generated impacts.
“When we talk about bump caps, we’re talking more about worker-generated impacts that are likely to happen in confined spaces,” he said. For instance, he said an aircraft maintenance technician could be doing work under a piece of equipment, then stand up and hit their head.
“The forces at play are usually lower than you would potentially experience with an object-generated impact because you’re not moving very far, you’re not moving very quickly and it’s really just the force generated by the worker that’s causing the impact."
In terms of level of protection and levels of force being protected against, bump caps fall into a lower category.