Bump Cap vs. Hard Hat: Which is Better?

Posted by
Lance Roux
on Nov 18, 2022

Head injuries impact thousands of construction workers each year. To prevent on-the-job injuries, both workers and employers want the best Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) available. Bump caps are an alternative to hard hats that are well suited to some industries. However, it is important to understand the differences and choose with your situation in mind.

What is a Bump Cap and When Should You Use it?

Bump caps are a form of head protection that resembles baseball caps. They are made with a hard plastic shell and an inner foam lining. Bump caps are not a suitable replacement for hard hats, as they do not meet CSA or ANSI requirements. They are not designed to protect the head from heavy blows or falling objects. 

Bump caps are more commonly used as simple scalp protection when a worker may inadvertently bump their head. Many superficial scalp wounds can bleed and require stitches, so some head protection is better than none when a worker is at risk of striking their head. These are often called “worker-generated impacts.” Some common applications include: 

  1. Mechanics
  2. Home service professionals
  3. Truck drivers
  4. Exterminators
  5. Home inspectors 
  6. Airline workers
  7. Anyone working in tight, confined spaces 

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What is a Hard Hat and When Should You Use it?

Hard hats are specifically constructed of high-density polyethylene (HDPE), hard plastic, or thermoplastic to meet stringent OSHA head protection standards. They also contain an inner suspension system to keep the hat from rubbing the scalp. Hard hats are designed to protect a worker from flying or falling objects, or “object-generated impacts.” 

Hard hats are specified PPE for workers at high risk of suffering such impacts, including: 

  1. Construction workers
  2. Miners
  3. Utility workers
  4. Road workers
  5. Forestry workers
  6. General site workers
  7. Workers at heights 

Hard hats come in two basic varieties: Type I can withstand impacts and vertical penetrations, while Type II is made to resist these, plus penetration on the sides, front, and back. The type you should use depends on your work tasks and specific risks. 

Which Option is Better?

The issue is not whether bump caps or hard hats are better than the other; the key is understanding which option is appropriate for your job setting. New PPE technology is constantly developed and introduced, and newer forms of head protection are lighter, cooler, more durable and offer better protection than the heavy, clunky models of the past. 

Partnering with a safety professional can help you decide which forms of head protection are warranted for your employees. A safety professional can also provide proper training on wear, care, and use of appropriate head protection and other PPE. 

Head Safety Equipment and Training

Head protection is not necessary in all jobs. If you work in a tight, confined space where hard hats aren’t a requirement, bump caps can be an excellent way to ensure safety. Where hard hats are required, training classes offer key knowledge and applications to help keep employees safe. More hard hat information can be found here

SafetyPro Resources offers both virtual and on-site hard hat training and other forms of safety instruction. This benefits employers and workers by reducing the risk of serious injuries and keeping workers safe on the job.


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Tags: Safety Management, Fall Protection

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