What is the Difference Between Type 1 and Type 2 Hard Hats?

All industrial protective hard hats are either Type 1 or Type 2 based on ANSI and CSA standards for impact resistance and direction. A hard hat can only have one designation for impact properties. There is no in-between according to these standards.

What is the ANSI standard?

The American National Standard for Industrial Head Protection, ANSI Z89.1-2014, provides industrial hard hat performance and testing requirements, and establishes types and classes of protective helmets to provide employers with hard hat options that provide appropriate protection for hazards present in a given workplace.

ANSI Z89.1-2014 was prepared by members of the International Safety Equipment Association’s (ISEA) Head Protection Group as a revision to the 2009 edition and approved by a consensus review panel comprised of technical experts, unions, construction industry and other user groups, test labs, and certification and government agencies.

Download this guide for quick reference about Type 1 and Type 2 hard hats.


What Is a Type 1 Hard Hat?

Type 1 hard hats based on ANSI and CSA standards are designed to reduce force as a result of an impact to ONLY the top of the head.

There are four specific performance requirements for Type 1 hard hats:

1. Flammability

No flame can be visible for five seconds after removing the test flame from the hard hat surface.

2. Force transmission

A single hard hat must not transmit force to the test head from exceeding 1,000 pounds of force. Conditioned hard hats (hot, cold, and ambient) shall be averaged, and the average cannot exceed 850 pounds of force to the test head form.

3. Apex penetration

The penetrator cannot make contact with the top of the head form.

4. Electrical classification (Class G, Class E, or Class C)

Class G and Class E hard hats must meet appropriate performance requirements:

  • Class G to withstand 2,200 volts for one minute. Maximum leakage shall not exceed three milliamperes.
  • Class E to withstand 20,000 volts for three minutes after impact. Maximum leakage shall not exceed nine milliamperes.

Class C hard hats are not tested for electrical insulation.

What Is a Type 2 Hard Hat?

Type 2 hard hats based on ANSI and CSA standards are designed to reduce force as a result of an impact to the front, back, sides, AND top of the head.

In addition to the four performance requirements of a Type 1 hard hat, Type 2 performance contains three additional requirements:

1. Impact energy attenuation

The hard hat is dropped onto a spherical object at various angles around the hard hat, above a designated test line.

2. Off-center penetration

A penetrator is dropped vertically, and the hard hat is rotated at different angles above a designated test line. The penetrator cannot contact the head form.

3. Chinstrap retention (optional)

If a Type 2 hard hat is provided with a chin strap, chin strap must be tested for retention, must remain attached to the hard hat and must not stretch beyond one inch in length.

What Options are Available for Type 1 and Type 2 Hard Hats?

Solutions are available from MSA in both Type 1 and Type 2 hard hats

Type 1 options consist of V-Gard® Caps and Hats. This includes the V-Gard C1 ™ Hard Hat, which features ReflectIR™ Thermal Barrier technology to keep the inside of the hat up to 20°F cooler, and the V-Gard H1 Safety Helmet, which provides exceptional comfort and ease-of-use with a low-profile design.

Additional Type 1 solutions from MSA include: SmoothDome® and Thermalgard® Caps, Topgard® and Skullgard® Caps and Hats, Comfo-Cap® Hard Hats, and Nexus Climbing Helmets.

Type 2 options from MSA are Super V® Helmets, which feature a foam liner with integrated Fas-Trac® suspension and are slotted for use with MSA accessories.