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Ohio State University Extension


Protecting the Head for Trainers and Supervisors

Tailgate Safety Training for Landscaping and Horticultural Services
Agriculture and Natural Resources
Agricultural Safety and Health Program

Objective: Use head protection to prevent injuries.

Trainer’s Note

Hard hats help prevent head injuries on the job. For this module:

  • Explain the information below on when and where to wear a hard hat.
  • Show workers how to inspect a hard hat for safety.
  • Demonstrate a proper hard hat fit.
  • Have each worker try on and adjust a hard hat to proper fit.
  • Review the important points.
  • Have workers take the True/False quiz to check their learning.


Hard hats protect the head from overhead objects and from falling or flying objects in situations like these:

  • working below other workers or machinery, such as bucket lifts
  • working in or under trees with work going on overhead
  • working around or under conveyor belts
  • working around exposed energized conductors

Wear hard hats made of slow-burning, water-resistant molded plastic. They protect the head in various ways.

  • The hard outer shells resist blows and penetration from above.
  • Shock-absorbing suspensions (headband and straps) act as an impact barrier between the hat and the head.
  • Slow-burning materials protect against fires and electrical burns.
  • Water-resistant materials provide insulation from electrical hazards.

Hard hats come in different classes with different levels of protection.

Class Level of Protection
A Resists impact and penetration. Provides limited resistance to electricity.
B Resists impact and penetration. Provides high resistance to electricity.
C Resists impact and penetration only. Provides no resistance to electricity. Usually made of aluminum. Do not wear around electricity.

Wearing Hard Hats Safely

  • Wearing a hard hat helmet over a cap or parka hood defeats the suspensions. Instead, use a liner to keep the head warm.
  • Chin straps are also available to keep the hat in place.
  • Inspect the hard hat before use. Wear the hat if:
    • the headband is not stretched or worn.
    • the headband fits comfortably.
    • the shell is not dented, cracked, or visibly damaged.
  • Check the hat for damage after use. If the hat is damaged, destroy it.
  • Wash the shell frequently using hot soapy water only; rinse thoroughly.
  • Store the hat carefully in a cool, dark, dry place.

Review These Important Points

  • Know when to wear a hard hat.
  • Choose the best hard hat for the job.
  • Wear hard hats that are in good repair.
  • Discard damaged hats.

About These Modules
The author team for the training modules in the landscape and horticultural tailgate training series includes Dee Jepsen, Program Director, Agricultural Safety and Health, Ohio State University Extension; Michael Wonacott, Research Specialist, Vocational Education; Peter Ling, Greenhouse Specialist; and Thomas Bean, Agricultural Safety Specialist. Modules were developed with funding from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, U.S. Department of Labor, Grant Number 46E3-HT09.

Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or the U.S. Department of Labor.

Answer Key

1. F

2. F

3. F

4. T

5. T


Quiz: Protecting the Head



True or False?

1. Do not wear a hard hat when working below conveyor belts.     T     F

2. Helmets worn over hats still offer protection.     T     F

3. A class C hard hat should be used when working with electricity.     T     F

4. Hard hats should be inspected before each use.     T     F

5. Hard hats should be stored in a cool, dry place.     T     F

Originally posted Jun 7, 2018.