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Environmental Health and Safety Blog | EHSWire

Heads Up! A quick look at hard hats…

Posted by Shivi Kakar

Oct 2, 2011 11:01:02 PM

By John Defillippo, CHMP

It makes sense, if you are injured in the head at work – you weren’t wearing a hard hat!


In 1980, Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) conducted a survey that indicated that about 80% of the workers sustaining traumatic head injuries each year do not wear head protection. Most of those injured were performing their normal jobs at their regular worksites with 70% indicating that they had had no instruction concerning hard hats. With this information, OSHA started the process to revise the PPE (personal protective equipment) standards and in 1994, the current version of the OSHA PPE standards was published.

So let’s move through time to the present – 30 years after the BLS survey… in 2010 OSHA handed out over $ 1.2 million in proposed penalties for about 2,000 head protection violations ( 29 CFR 1926.100 and 29 CFR 1910.135 ).  Most of these violations were for workers failing to wear hard hats when required.

When are hard hats required to be worn?


The Simple Answer:  If you are working where ANYTHING MIGHT fall, drop, fly, splash, or land on your head OR your head could come into contact with ANYTHING that MIGHT injure you, like moving equipment, chemicals or electricity, you need to be correctly wearing a properly fitting, ANSI-approved hardhat.

All hard hats should have an ANSI certification label on the inside of the hard hat’s shell. This label will clearly identify what type and class standards it was designed to meet. If this label is missing or cannot be read it should be replaced. Hard hats are classified according to the specific impact and electrical performance requirements they meet.  The details are specified in ANSI Z89.1-2009, American National Standard for Personal Protection—Protective Headwear for Industrial Workers.

Wearing them correctly means in accordance with the manufacturer’s recommendations. Not backwards (unless specifically so designed) and no hats underneath (except a proper hardhat liner).  A hard hat works by the shell deflecting the blow and absorbing shock and distributing the force of the impact over the suspension system. Wear it backwards or wearing hats (especially baseball caps) or carrying something inside is a really bad idea as it can adversely affect the way it works. Any stickers on the hat must be removable so the hard hat can be inspected and no paint is allowed.

If you are an employer you must determine if and when hard hats are required, provide the correct type and enforce their use.

All hard hats don’t protect our heads from all hazards!


How do you choose the right hard hat?  Do you need protection from just impact or do you also need protection from electrical hazards as well?

Impact Protection


Type I Hard Hats

Type I hard hats are intended to reduce the force of impact resulting for a blow to the top of the head only.

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Topics: OSHA, Personal Protective Equipment, General Industry H&S, OSHA Compliance, General EHS, Construction H&S, H&S Training, construction, class, electrical hazard, protective headwear, impact, ANSI, head protection, hard hat

The Benefits of Instructor Led vs Online HazWOPER Training

Posted by Shivi Kakar

Feb 28, 2011 6:02:05 AM

by Paula Kaufmann

I have attended some incredibly mind-numbing courses over my lifetime.  The worst course ever was in high school American History when we were “taught” about the FDR Years (1933-45) from an endless series of film strips with audio from a synchronized record. Recently, I attended a full-day, on-demand technical class that immediately transported back to that American History lesson. Needless to say, this comparison does not reflect well for this recent course.

I find I don’t take away much from a course that does not engage me. This could be because the topic is inherently dull, the material is presented in a monotonous or non-engaging manner, or I simply can’t connect with the material or the instructor.  I’ve often joked that I am easily entertained (after all, I am a chemist by training!), but dull, monotonous and distant often leave me with zero recall of the main points, and the details, well, those never seem to penetrate my numb mind!

On-line or Classroom HazWOPER?


In a previous EHSWire blog, Vijay Chintamaneni noted, “ When evaluating the courses based on their published description, Online Training and Instructor Led Training (ILT) may look the same, so it is wise to understand the benefits and drawbacks of both before making a final decision. This is especially important for occupational health and safety training.”

So, when I am asked for my thoughts on whether to attend an on-line or instructor-led HazWOPER training class, my immediate response is clear!  It is CRITICAL to actually learn what is taught in these classes not just fulfill the OSHA requirement.  Why? These workers will be working on a HAZARDOUS WASTE SITE, and the knowledge learned in a HazWOPER class allows them to appropriately protect themselves. Students in a HazWOPER class must be engaged in this particular occupational learning as the material is inherently dry and dull.  The best way to imprint essential HazWOPER components such as risk assessment, hazard information, team emergency response and the practical learning, is from discussion, hands-on and group exercises.  

Training experts insist that hands-on training is the best way to learn!


Consider these situations the next time you consider online training to meet your HazWOPER requirements:

  • Would you SCUBA dive in the Florida Keys after completely an on-line SCUBA diving lesson (without ever handling the equipment on land or even in a pool)?

  • When you call 911 – would you trust an emergency responder that recently received CPR training on-line  without any practice or instructor guidance?

  • Would you lend your car to a friend who just learned to drive by completing an on-line driving class?

  • If folks need to be trained to work as a team with a command/response structure – how successful can team training be when individuals are trained in isolation?

  • How many other things do you do while you are “attending” an online course?

  • Do you really want the guy next to you at the hazardous site to be responsible for your health after taking critical health and safety training…online?


Why the Emilcott Training Institute? Because you will LEARN and be prepared!!


Emilcott offers quality HazWOPER health and safety training that prepares workers for the real world by keeping them engaged and interested in the materials! Our HazWOPER instruction combines classroom knowledge with interactive, hands-on activities, respirator fit-testing, individual and group activities, and a simulated, outdoor hazardous waste operation complete with “what if” scenarios and instructor guidance.

  • The Emilcott 40-hour HazWOPER mock drill is chock full of “what if” scenarios such as unidentified hazards, nosy neighbors, health and safety incidents, decontamination exercises, use of instruments, and more.

  • We film our mock drill and then evaluate the results in class.

  • We have taught thousands of HazWOPER training classes – many of them for the US Armed Forces in the states and Europe.

  • Our 8-hour Site Supervisor course concentrates on group exercises and managerial experience to reinforce essential skills needed to ensure the health and safety of the crew while getting project work completed without incident.

  • We interview our students to ensure that the materials presented are as applicable to their job function as possible.

  • Our annual 8-hour Refresher is revised each year to ensure well-rounded exposure for our repeat students.

  • We train students, but we do not pass students who don’t qualify!


What is the importance of a good instructor?


Emilcott HazWOPER instructors are field-experienced health and safety professionals who have seen it all!  In fact many of our instructors have been working on hazardous waste sites and training for over 25 years. Emilcott instructors consist of

As HazWOPER instructors, their job is to review the OSHA-required materials in such a way that students can remember the materials and apply them to their job.  Through a variety of media, discussions and exercises Emilcott ensures that our 24-hour, 40-hour or 8-hour HazWOPER class is as practical and hands-on as possible!

Understand Yourself and the Impact of Effective Training


As a CIH consultant with a family and other obligations, it is always a challenge for me to squeeze in occupational training. After all, time spent learning does compete with project work, and there are only so many hours in the week!  With such a tight schedule, sitting in on a webinar or other type of on-demand learning is easier to squeeze into my schedule. Conversely, I also know that attending a course in a classroom with a qualified instructor is a far better option for learning and applying critical health and safety information that I will need on the job. As a result, whenever I have the option between online or instructor-led, especially for a dreaded or boring topic, the best option is to block out the time for classroom learning; my distractions are reduced, my attendance and alertness is required and, now that I’ve set aside the time, my focus is on learning the most and maximize the opportunity. 

Have you ever taken an online, technical course? What were some of the distracting activities you did while “learning”? My personal favorites are cleaning up my email or wallet! Have you ever taken a technical course for multiple days and walked out of it remembering almost next to nothing and thinking, “Oh, that was a waste!” Has that experience affected your training selection process?
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Topics: Emilcott, OSHA, health and safety, General Industry H&S, OSHA Compliance, General EHS, Construction H&S, H&S Training, Hazardous Waste Management, Compliance, Occupational Health, Occupational Safety, class, Occupational Training, HazWOPER, training

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