New ANSI Standard for Industrial Head Protection

Jan. 8, 2004
For the first time, a U.S. standard includes specifications for industrial helmets designed to offer protection from a lateral impact.

The standard, ANSI Z87.1-1997 retains the performance requirements for helmets offering top impact protection. This gives employers and users the flexibility to specify the helmet that best meets the needs of their specific workplace.

ANSI Z87.1-1997 was prepared by the members of the International Safety Equipment Association's (ISEA) Head Protection Group as a substantial revision to ANSI Z89.1-1986, and approved following input from users, government agencies and safety experts. It contains new classifications of protective helmets for the first time since the 1981 revision.

Industrial head protective helmets meeting the requirements of this standard are classified by both type and class differently than in the past. The old designations Type 1 (hats) and Type 2 (caps) are no longer used. Performance requirements for the new Type I helmet are equivalent to those specified in the 1986 revision. Thus, any helmets meeting the requirements of ANSI Z89.1-1986 should meet the requirements for Type I in this revision.

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
  • Chin strap retention

The Class A, B and C electrical insulation classifications have been replaced by new designations: Class G (general), Class E (electrical) and Class C (conductive no electrical protection).

Copies of the standard are available from ISEA by calling (703) 525-1695. The single-copy cost is $30, or $25 for ISEA member companies.

About the Author

Sandy Smith

Sandy Smith is the former content director of EHS Today, and is currently the EHSQ content & community lead at Intelex Technologies Inc. She has written about occupational safety and health and environmental issues since 1990.

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