The Influence of Hard Hat Design Features on Head Acceleration Attenuation

J Appl Biomech. 2021 Apr 1;37(2):80-86. doi: 10.1123/jab.2020-0182. Epub 2020 Dec 29.


This study evaluated the performance of 6 commercially available hard hat designs-differentiated by shell design, number of suspension points, and suspension tightening system-in regard to their ability to attenuate accelerations during vertical impacts to the head. Tests were conducted with impactor materials of steel, wood, and lead shot (resembling commonly seen materials in a construction site), weighing 1.8 and 3.6 kg and dropped from 1.83 m onto a Hybrid III head/neck assembly. All hard hats appreciably reduced head acceleration to the unprotected condition. However, neither the addition of extra suspension points nor variations in suspension tightening mechanism appreciably influenced performance. Therefore, these results indicate that additional features available in current hard hat designs do not improve protective capacity as related to head acceleration metrics.

Keywords: construction safety; mild traumatic brain injury; personal protective equipment.

MeSH terms

  • Acceleration*
  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Head
  • Head Protective Devices*
  • Humans
  • Neck