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What Do Different Color Hard Hats Mean?

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What do the different color hard hats mean

The evolution of hard hats is remarkable, from a safety shield in World War II to indispensable equipment in modern industry. Over time, this tool’s journey sees changes in its materials and constructions for better service for workers.

Although there is no official mandate for hard hats’ colors, the general public agrees on those colors’ meanings. Read on to find out our answer to your question “What do different color hard hats mean?”

Hard Hat Types And Colors


For workers to identify which hard hats support and protect themselves best, OSHA put the equipment into two types and three classes.

Type I refers to helmets designed to reduce the impact to the top of the hat, mostly from heavy objects falling.

Type II can offer wider covering areas, from the center to off-center and sides of the head. This equipment is often geared with high-density foam and a robust suspension system to reduce significant forces from different angles.

Class C, or conducive helmet, is for workers who do not need electric protection. Yet, the piece is often well-ventilated and breathable.

Class G, or general helmet, can handle a voltage of up to 2 200 volts, meaning to shield the head only.

Class E, or electrical helmet, is the most powerful tool when it comes to high-voltage and dielectric protection. You can rely on the equipment with 20 000 volts phase to ground.

Besides types and classes, hard hat color is another sign for suitable selection. While searching for a functional helmet that protects your head, you will likely come across: white, orange, blue, and black ones. Read on to find out their meanings.

What Do Different Color Hard Hats Mean?


Either it is for purchasing your hard hat or recognizing people’s positions at your new workplace, knowing the meaning of hat colors is important. Check out the nine most-used ones available:

  • White: White helmets are often seen at construction sites, as they represent highly-ranked workers. If you recognize someone wearing a white hard hat, they are likely your supervisors or managers.

Besides, engineers and architects put this headwear on when working at the site, too. Vehicle marshalls also wear this same helmet, together with their reflective and bright suits for duties.

  • Yellow: Yellow ones are seen among workers of different fields. Because a yellow hard hat is worn by general employees who have no specialty. Thus, you expect to see this piece on laborers and earthmovers as they operate heavy machinery.
  • Green: As most workers at the construction sites already know, the green color presents safety. That’s why it’s mostly safety inspectors who put on a green helmet at work.

In another case, people that are on probation will be assigned to wear a green hat. It means you can recognize workers on the trial period when spotting the green helmet on them.

  • Orange: Road construction workers require helmets that are recognizable day and night time. Hence, the orange hats are trusted due to their great visibility. It is easy to notice that these workers also wear safety jackets of the same color.
  • Red: Another standard headgear is the red one, as it represents fire and danger. Based on the nature of the job, firefighters and other emergency workers wear this colored hard hat.
  • Black composite: In a firefighter department, if you spot someone wearing a black composite headgear, she/he is a senior worker there.
  • Brown: For people who handle high-heat application work, brown hard hats are designed for them. In truth, those workers are often welders.
  • Grey: If you are not a worker on the site, you will not wear any of the hats above. In fact, a grey hat will be given to you since you are a visitor and often without related duties.
  • Pink: The final one is rare to see, but it sometimes appears on the site for punishment. In other words, workers who break the rule of wearing their safety hard hats will have to put a pink one on. If a colleague of yours is wearing this one, it is likely that he forgets his helmet at home.

The Benefit Of a Color Code System

It goes without saying that we benefit a lot when knowing the meaning of each hard hat color. Here’re some obvious factors that make knowledge of the color code system important:

  • It helps you to purchase the right hard hat for your current work. Besides type, class, functions, and quality, the helmet color indicates who you are at the worksite.
  • When people wear the right hard hat code, it is easier to recognize their roles and ask for help. This comes in handy, especially in an urgent situation. Plus, knowing people’s positions lets you co-operate and connect better with them.
  • If you are a supervisor, workers’ hard hats will help you identify their duties and allow easier investigating and managing.


Hopefully, this short guide gives you a clear answer to your question: “What do different color hard hats mean?” Make sure you do not repaint a new color or decorate too many stickers over the headwear suitable for your jobs already.

Since hard hat color code plays a vital role in your gear selection and work process, you should remember the information. Usually, you will come across four to five standard colors, and the rest do not often appear around your workplace.

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