B B B B B Bump Caps!


What are bump caps?

Protective headgear is an essential requirement in many work environments, especially in construction, mining and industry.

Most of us will be familiar with “hard hats”.  These safety helmets offer essential protection against moving objects, but they are not always necessary when the real risks to workers wearing them are small, such as scratches, scrapes or bumps.  In some circumstances, helmets may even be a hindrance, for example, to those working in confined spaces between fixed obstructions.

A lightweight version of the hard hat is the “bump cap”.  These tend to have simplified suspension or padding, as opposed to the suspension of hard hats.  The heavy-duty suspension in hard hats is designed to absorb the shock of a blow.  Bump caps are practical when there is a possibility of scraping or bumping your head on stationary objects - equipment, overhead piping, low ceilings and structure projections.  Other advantages include their allowance for greater ventilation and being more comfortable to wear. 

Bump caps are manufactured in a number of styles, including baseball caps and other sporty designs, beanies, and fleece-lined for chilly weather.

“Industrial scalp protectors”

The first British Standard to cover “bump caps” was BS 4033:1966 Specification for industrial scalp protectors (light duty).  It made reference to an earlier standard, BS 2095:1954 (specification for Industrial Safety Helmets – Light Duty), but BS 2095 specifically covered helmets and was designed for protection from falling objects.

BS 4033 gave test and efficiency requirements for protective headwear for workers at some risk “against striking the top of the head against hard objects with sufficient severity to cause lacerations or other superficial industries, or to stun themselves.”  It was to not be regarded as being for safety helmets.

It was developed by BSI’s Personal Safety Equipment Standards Committee.  The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents was represented on the committee, as well as the British Iron and Steel Federation before its nationalization in 1967.

Europe and Bump Caps

BS 4033 remained in use, without amendment, until 1998.  The “Bump Caps” term appeared in standards when the European Standards Body CEN released EN 812 (Industrial bump caps) in 1997.  It was developed by the Technical Committee CEN/TC 158, Head protection, the secretariat of which is held by BSI.  Again, it stressed that bump caps provided protection against striking the top of the head against hard objects, but were not intended to provide protection against the effects of falling or thrown objects, or moving or suspended loads.  EN 812 included specifications for bump cap design as well as essential performance requirements.  BS adopted EN 812 as BS EN 812:1998.

The most recent version of the standard, BS EN 812:2012, has just been released and is now available on from the BSI shop.

What’s available in the Knowledge Centre?

BSI’s Knowledge Centre can provide access to withdrawn bump cap and other protective headgear standards back to the 1950s. Members can view withdrawn standards without charge in Chiswick, and they are available for purchase in hard copy and PDF. BSI members receive a 50% discount, free postage and can buy on account.

To find out more please contact the Knowledge Centre at: knowledgecentre@bsigroup.com or on +44 (0)20 8996 7004


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