Be Hard Hatted, Not Hard Headed

Dear Swami,

When I was working a show the other night, we were required to wear a hard hat at all times. At some shows I've worked, hard hats are required only if it is outdoors. At one inside event I was told not to wear one and that only riggers should wear them. What's the really story? When should I wear a hard hat and when should I not wear one?

Signed,

Hard Hatted

Dear HH,

The best protection for the inside of the head is knowledge but the best protection for the outside of the head is a hard hat or a helmet. If work being done overhead, then there is a possibility that something could be dropped and head protection should be worn whether indoors or out. When riggers or anyone else are up in the steel, I wear head protection whether it was required or not. I have a hard head but it's soft compared to a falling shackle pin or C-wrench. Be sure to get a hard hat or helmet that's appropriate for your job. If you're a rigger then it's okay to use a vented helmet but if you're an electrician you should have Class G or Class E head protection. Those are insulated against up to 2,000 volts and 20,000 volts respectively. They are not vented because, in the event of an arc flash, vents would allow your scalp to be burned. And they also have non-melting headliners so that, in the event of an arc flash, they won't melt to your scalp. Of course, if no one is working overhead, it's okay to wear your turban.

Signed,

Swami Candela of the 3rd Millennium

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