When it comes to safety equipment, the hard hat arguably trumps all. Protecting one of your most critical body parts from impact, the structural integrity of your hard hat is of utmost importance. In fact, in 2012, 1,020 workers died from on-the-job head injuries, according to the National Safety Council. To help ensure your helmet is to the highest safety standards, we’ve put together the top three rules all hard-hat-wearing professionals should know.
1. Know When to Give Your Hat the Boot
As part of your daily routine, when getting suited up for the job, you should always be inspecting your hat for any type of damage—cracks, chips, dents, etc. Even with average wear and tear, hard hats aren’t meant to last forever. Every year or two you should be replacing your suspension, and every five years or so, it’s time to hang up your hat (literally), and invest in a new one.
2. Let it Be
We get it—hard hats might not be the most flattering safety gear, but that doesn’t mean it’s okay to take “sprucing it up” into your own hands. In fact, making modifications to your helmet can seriously affect its overall ability to protect your head during impact. Avoid making any of the following adjustments to your hard hat for maximum protection:
- Wearing a baseball cap underneath – A cap can interfere with the suspension of your helmet—a risk not worth taking. Plus, most caps have metal or hard plastic pieces, which can incur even more damage should you hit your head on something. A safe alternative is a bandana.
- Painting your helmet – Paint can chemically damage the shell of your helmet, which could lead to an increased risk of injury.
There are, however a few modifications that have been tested and proven to not affect the safety capabilities of hard hats. These include:
- Using stickers – Give your hat a bit of personality with self-adhesive stickers, but avoid placing any near the edges – ¾ of an inch is a safe distance.
- Wearing your helmet backwards – Not all helmets are safe to wear backwards, but many are. Check with the manufacturer and be sure to reverse the suspension before doing so.
3. Damaged Goods are No Good
In the unlucky event that you get a bump on the head while wearing your hard hat, you’ll want to play it safe and replace it immediately. Even if there isn’t any visible damage, the impact could have affected the suspension or compromised the integrity of the hat’s protecting capabilities.
At US Standard Products’ core, we believe in keeping workers across all industries safe from the dangers of the job, and do so by providing the highest quality operational and safety products. To stay up-to-date on the latest workplace safety news and trends, follow US Standard Products on social media: