OHS Code Explanation Guide

Published Date: July 01, 2009
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Part 41 Work Requiring Rope Access

Section 831 Head protection

Subsection 831(1) Headwear standards – lateral impact

If there is a foreseeable danger of injury to a worker’s head during industrial rope access work, head protection must be worn. The type worn may vary based on whether a worker is likely to sustain a lateral impact to the head or not. For compliance purposes, industrial protective headwear intended for use where there is a significant possibility of lateral impact to the head must meet the requirements of one of the listed standards. Lateral impact occurs when an object strikes the headwear from any direction other than directly above. The headwear must be of the appropriate Class for the type of work being performed.

CSA Standard Z94.1

CSA Standard Z94.1-05, Industrial Protective Headwear, applies to headwear intended to protect the heads of industrial workers. The Standard defines the areas of the head that are to be protected and includes basic performance requirements for impact protection, object penetration, stability and dielectric properties (the ability of a material to resist the passage of electric current).

The Standard divides protective headwear into three Classes according to its intended use:

(a) Class G (General Use) – this Class is intended to provide workers with protection against impact and penetration. This headwear is non-conducting and must pass a 2200 V dielectric-strength test. This protective headwear provides limited protection against electric shock.

(b) Class E (Electrical Trades) – this Class is intended to provide workers with protection against impact and penetration. This headwear is non-conducting and must pass a 20,000 V dielectric-strength test. This headwear provides improved protection against electric shock following accidental contact between the headwear and exposed energized electrical sources.

(c) Class C (Conducting Headwear) – this Class is intended to provide the user with protection against impact and penetration only.

Protective headwear meeting the CSA requirements may have a brim around the entire circumference of the shell or have a partial brim with a peak.

ANSI Standard Z89.1

Type II helmets that meet ANSI Standard Z89.1-1997 or Z89.1-2003, American National Standard for Industrial Head Protection, may also be used at the workplace. The ANSI Standard applies to protective helmets intended to provide limited protection for the head against impact, flying particles, electric shock or any combination of these hazards.

The Standard divides protective helmets into two types and three classes according to their intended use. Type I helmets are intended to reduce the force of impact resulting from a blow only to the top of the head. Type II helmets are intended to reduce the force of impact resulting from a blow that may be received off-centre or to the top of the head. The three classes are as follows:

(a) Class G (General Use) – this Class is intended to reduce the danger of contact exposure to low voltage conductors and must pass a 2200 V dielectric-strength test.

(b) Class E (Electrical Trades) – this Class is intended to reduce the danger of contact exposure to high voltage conductors and must pass a 20,000 V dielectric-strength test.

(c) Class C (Conductive – no electrical protection) – this Class is designed specifically for lightweight comfort and impact protection. This Class is usually manufactured from aluminum and offers no dielectric protection.

ANSI types and classes are combined to provide products classified as Type I, Class G or Type II, Class E, etc. Helmets meeting the ANSI requirements may have a brim around the entire circumference of the helmet shell or have a partial brim with a peak.

CEN Standard EN 12492

CEN Standard EN 12492: 2000, Mountaineering equipment – Helmets for mountaineers – Safety requirements and test methods, specifies safety requirements and test methods for safety helmets for use in mountaineering. Because they are intended for mountaineering, helmets meeting the requirements of this standard can only be used for industrial rope access work if the manufacturer’s specifications allow the helmet to be used for industrial work at height.

The Standard requires a helmet

  • to have a retention system with three separate points of attachment to the shell. The helmet must have a chin strap,
  • to be ventilated, and
  • to be able to withstand a specified impact force delivered to the top, sides and rear of the helmet. The force transmitted to the headform must not exceed 10 kN.

UIAA Standard 106

UIAA Standard 106: 2004, Mountaineering and Climbing Equipment – Helmets, requires that the helmet meet all the requirements of CEN Standard EN 12492 but that the value of impact force transmitted to the headform during testing be limited to 8 kN rather than the 10 kN specified in CEN Standard EN 12492. Because they are intended for mountaineering, helmets meeting the requirements of this standard can only be used for industrial rope access work if the manufacturer’s specifications allow the helmet to be used for industrial work at height.

Subsection 831(2) Helmet standards – lateral impact unlikely

If the possibility of lateral impact to the head is unlikely, the headwear can meet the requirements of one of the standards listed in this subsection. Because helmets designed for lateral impact protection are subjected to impact tests to the crown, the majority of the standards listed in subsection 831(1) also appear here. Readers should refer to that subsection for information about each of those standards. The only standard not included in that subsection but which appears in this subsection is CEN Standard EN 397: 2006, Industrial safety helmets.

This Standard specifies physical and performance requirements, methods of test and marking requirements for industrial safety helmets. The mandatory requirements apply to helmets for general use in industry. This Standard requires the following of a helmet:

  • ventilation holes in the helmet shell are optional
  • the helmet must be able to withstand a specified impact force delivered to the top of the helmet. The force transmitted to the headform must not exceed 5 kN
  • the chin strap must open when subjected to a force ranging between 150 and 250 N
  • optional requirements include a low temperature test, very high temperature test, electrical resistance, lateral deformation, and molten metal splash.