Breaking the Hard Hat Color Code

DSC_3659_Featured imageLook around any construction site, and you’ll see a lot of protective gear – reflective vests, steel-toed boots, and, of course, hard hats. Look close enough, and you’ll see that those hard hats come in a variety of colors. That’s generally not an indication of individual fashion statements, however. Often the colors are a shorthand method of identifying who’s who on the work site.

photography-film-stripFor example, white hard hats generally are worn by engineers and architects like those at Ayres Associates. Color designations may vary by the firm assigning the gear, but on our US 92 General Hutchison Bridge project in Seminole County, Florida, a few years ago, the following designations were used: brown for welders, yellow for general laborers and earth-moving equipment operators, green for inspectors, and blue for technical advisers. (Several of the accompanying photos show the construction action and hard hats in use.)

Of course those hard hats also keep workers safe. A hard hat saved one of our engineers from serious injury a few years ago. He was walking under a bridge examining debris that needed to be removed when a piece of concrete broke loose. The concrete dropped 20 to 25 feet and hit the top of the engineer’s hard hat. The hard hat was dented, but the engineer walked away with only a slight headache.

Our safety manual specifies that employees must wear head protection in areas where there is a potential for injury to the head from falling or moving objects. The hard hat also provides some protection from electric shock and burn. Those hard hats – no matter what color – are one of the most important tools in our safety toolkit.

You’ll see Ayres Associates staff members (wearing their white hard hats) on a variety of projects. To learn more, visit our construction services page.

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  • Jim Brydges, Sr. says:

    Colored hard hats should be worn. Inspectors-Green, General Laborers-Yellow, and so on. this way when you go on a job site you would know who is who. The bosses of it company on the job should have their company name on their hats. I deliver steel to job sites and I can’t tell who’s who on the site. Sometimes it takes me ten to fifteen minutes to find a boss. Think in one day @ 100 jobs, 100 delivery drivers spend fifteen minutes each to find a boss. That’s @ $20.00 per hour $5.00 per driver = $500.00 per day wasted on lost time.