Canadian Contractor

Alec Caldwell   

What kind of hard hat are you wearing, Type 1 or Type 2?

Canadian Contractor

For a few extra bucks, Alec Caldwell argues, you should be wearing a Type 2 hard hat.

Worded and Edited hard hatThere seems to be confusion on what type of hard hat everyone should wear on construction work sites. Hats are divided into two categories: Type 1 and Type 2.

Many wear Type 1 hard hats and I believe this occurs based on it being the lowest price – normally around $15 apiece. This type of hard hat is designed to take impacts to the top of the head, like a hammer falling a short distance. It is not designed for side impacts.

Type 2 hard hats cost around $35 and up. They are intended to reduce the force of side impact resulting from a blow, or a blow to the top of the head.

Side impacts can come from sharp corners of I-beams, among other causes. This more expensive hard hat will protect you from an impact from an object falling from a greater height.


To most rational people, Type 2 hard hats make more sense. Wouldn’t you want your workers or sub trades – or any site visitors of whatever type – to be wearing Type 2 hard hats? And you need a hard hat with full wrap around insulation insides the shell of the hat. Hard hat info

Remember that the higher up that hammer falls, the greater force it hits someone with. Example: it takes a hammer 1 second to fall 16 feet. But that hammer will travel a further 48 feet in its additional second of freefall time. Meaning it picks up speed the higher height it falls from.

Impacts from items falling from greater heights, I say, need full insulation inside that hard hart in order to reduce the amount of injury caused to the  wearer of the hat.

Types 1 hard hats might NOT offer the full protection necessary to limit injury.

Here are my thoughts after an accident or fatality, like my falling hammer example. The Ministry of Labour investigators might conclude after investigation, that the wearer should have used Type 2 and not Type 1.

They (Ministry of Labour Ontario) could easily find fault with the employer under investigation of not fully protecting the safety of the worker (sub trade or site visitor) who was involved in the accident or who died.

I believe we should all deliver this highest level of safety at all time. I wear a Type 2 (completely insulated inside) hard hat on all my construction visits.

What type do you and your workers (including sub trades) wear ?

CARAHS is an approved Working at Heights training provider for the Ministry of Labour in Ontario (Course info here)

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2 Comments » for What kind of hard hat are you wearing, Type 1 or Type 2?
  1. Nikki says:

    Hi there. I would like to know what the colour codes of hard hats are in canada (who wears the white ones, who wears the yellow ones, etc.) I’d really appreciate your answer

    • Kevin says:

      There isn’t really a code. Usually safety and management will wear white hats. But that only seems to be the case 50% of the time. Same goes for vest colors.

      You see guys ranging from laborers all the way to project managers wearing all different colors of gear. There is often a code in oil and gas but again that varies from company to company and site to site.

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