American Survival Guide - - GEAR GUIDE -

When buy­ing a hel­met for clear­ing the woods, con­struc­tion or other du­ties that come with main­tain­ing what is yours, it is im­por­tant to un­der­stand the ANSI Z89.1 stan­dards. These go back nearly 25 years, and all hel­mets for pro­fes­sional con­struc­tion types that were pur­chased after July 5, 1994, must com­ply with the per­for­mance guide­lines in the ANSI Z89.1-1986 Amer­i­can Na­tional Stan­dard for Per­sonal Pro­tec­tion-pro­tec­tive Head­wear for In­dus­trial Work­ers Re­quire­ments.

There are also hel­mets de­signed for those who work with elec­tric wires, and these could come in handy if you're run­ning your own elec­tri­cal grid. In this case, look for OSHA guide­lines, in­clud­ing the Code of Fed­eral Reg­u­la­tions (CFR) 1910.135 and 1926.100.

CFR 1910.135(a)(1) states, "Each af­fected em­ployee shall wear pro­tec­tive hel­mets when work­ing in ar­eas where there is a po­ten­tial for in­jury to the head from fall­ing ob­jects." That stan­dard also ad­dresses sit­u­a­tions in which elec­tri­cal haz­ards are present, be­cause 1901.135(a)(2) re­quires that work­ers who per­form tasks close to ex­posed elec­tri­cal con­duc­tors should wear hard hats en­gi­neered to shield against shocks.

Hel­mets de­signed for the mil­i­tary must also meet key U.S. mil­i­tary stan­dards; these in­clude bal­lis­tic re­sis­tance and bal­lis­tic de­for­ma­tion. As of 2004, the mil­i­tary stan­dards gen­er­ally noted that the "bal­lis­tic hard­ware shall pro­vide pen­e­tra­tion re­sis­tance and shall not per­fo­rate or pen­e­trate the wit­ness plate against 9mm 124 grain FMJ pro­jec­tile at 1400 +50/-0 fps."

In terms of bal­lis­tic de­for­ma­tion, the stan­dards also noted, "When sub­jected to 9mm, 124 grain full metal jacket, pro­jec­tile at 1400 (+ 50/–0) ft/sec at 0° obliq­uity at am­bi­ent con­di­tions, the tran­sient de­for­ma­tion of the shell shall not cause a de­for­ma­tion in the clay head form in ex­cess of 1.0 inch."

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