Personal Protective Equipment, Q&A

Q&A: Hard Hats for Crane Operators

Recently, a subscriber asked the following question:

Does an overhead crane operator in general industry need to wear a hard hat?

This was our response:

Requirements for hard hats are determined by your hazard assessment for personal protective equipment (PPE) under 29 CFR 1910.132:
“Each employer must assess the workplace to determine if hazards are present, or are likely to be present, and necessitate the use of PPE. Every job in the workplace must be evaluated. The employer must certify in writing that the PPE hazard assessment has been performed.”

You also need to comply with OSHA’s head protection rule at 29 CFR 1910.135:
“Employers must require employees to wear a protective helmet in areas where they are at risk of falling objects injuring the head. Such situations include when employees are working below others working with tools or loose objects, or around or under conveyor belts or other machinery that may cause objects to dislodge and fall.”

Based on the above, if your hazard assessment finds that the overhead crane operator is exposed to hazards from falling objects in the work area, then head protection would be required.