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ANSI Celebrates 100 Years of the Hard Hat

Print Article Contributed by FSM Staff

WASHINGTON, DC -- Without the protection of hard hats, millions of workers' lives would be at risk. On December 6th which was National Miner's Day, the American National Standards Institute recognized the 100-year anniversary of the hard hat—often the first line of defense for miners and other laborers around the world.

ANSI also pays tribute to the crucial standardization work integral to the safety of hard hats and their ongoing evolution. In light of the anniversary, ANSI spoke with Wells Bullard, CEO of ANSI member Bullard, (pictured below, right) about how hard hats have evolved over time.

National Miner's Day pays tribute to the 325,000 men and women who work in nearly 13,000 surface and underground mines across the United States. For the thousands in the field, and many more in other labor occupations, personal protection equipment (PPE) has changed immensely over time. In fact, at the turn of the 20th century, hard hats were nonexistent. Industrial workers tasked with building bridges and laying the foundation of American infrastructure, from bridges to skyscrapers, wore something called a "soft derby," hats that resembled baseball caps, according to Bullard. Faced with falling debris and working at great heights, laborers were at risk of injuries and fatal accidents every day at their job sites.

While the first hard hats were in production by 1919, they weren't required at a specific job site until the 1930's. The creation of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration in the 1970s led to a major safety development for laborers: Wearing hard hats at hazardous work sites became mandatory.





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