A hard hat is an essential protective gear among workers considering the fact that it plays a pivotal role in protecting your head. However, it would be impossible for it to deliver its intended function of protecting your head if you do not know exactly how to take good care of it.
It is also crucial to learn how long is a hard hat good for. You need to determine the specific length of time it will most likely last, so you will also have an idea when you should replace it. Luckily, you can now find the answer in this article.
The Importance of Hard Hats
Hard hats refer to specific kinds of helmets that you can wear in a hazardous workplace or work environment as a means of protecting your head. You can use the hat as protection for your head from a number of safety hazards, like debris, collision impact, flying objects, and shock.
It is a resilient personal protective equipment (PPE), allowing it to work in saving the lives of workers in a work environment. Aside from protecting your head from falling objects, a hard hat is also important in keeping the side of your head, neck, and eyes safe from bumps, impacts, electrical exposure, and scrapes.
It serves as the ultimate head protection for workers in hazardous workplaces, like electricians, carpenters, plumbers, linemen, repairers, mechanics, sawyers, laborers, welders, assembler packers, freight handlers, stock handlers, timber cutters, warehouse laborers, and loggers.
Until When can your Hard Hat Serve its Purpose?
Your decision to wear a hard hat in the workplace can indeed save your life. It can protect your head by ensuring that it absorbs and deflects the impact caused by falling objects. Note that even a small thing that falls to your head can lead to significant brain injuries.
It is because most objects tend to build up force and speed while falling. In most cases, this PPE can save your life or prevent you from dealing with a serious injury. However, take note that wearing the hard hat, which is already beyond its useful life (expiration date) can no longer offer the most appropriate protection.
This is the primary reason why you have to figure out until when can your hat serve its intended purpose, which is to give you protection. Keep in mind that most of these hats are constructed out of high-density polyethylene material. This is a durable and wear-resistant material but there is still a great possibility for it to break down soon.
Among the factors that can degrade the hat’s protective properties and elements are being exposed to harsh and hazardous workplaces as well as safety hazards, like extreme temperatures and chemicals, and wear and tear. Most cases, though, the hard hat can serve its purpose for up to six months to a year.
Is it Different from the Hard Hat’s Expiration Date?
The hard hat actually comes with an expiration date, which is also referred to as its maximum lifespan. To determine the expiration date, you have to take into consideration the manufacturing date. Also, take note that the date the hat will expire will also be dependent on its make and model.
The typical lifespan is usually three years after the manufacturing date. Some brands and manufacturers, however, are now promising a lifespan of up to five years after the manufacturing date. The problem is that you can’t expect the hats to serve its purpose until its expiration date.
In fact, it is necessary not to expect too much from its lifespan. It is possible for it to reach that max lifespan if you use it sparingly and perfectly store it. However, hard hats live a really hard life as they are frequently exposed to a number of harsh conditions.
This is the main reason why some of them only last for around 6 months to 2 years. This is especially true for those hats that are heavily used and abused. The service life of your hard hat will also begin from the first time you wear it. That said, take note of this specific date and conduct a visual inspection regularly.
What you should do during each visual inspection is to check the hat for signs of damage, like dents and scratches. The length of time you will be using the hat will also depend on some factors, like the length of time after the manufacturing date you started to use it and the situations that occur to it right after using it.
For instance, if your hard hat promises a 5-year expiration date but you put it in storage during the first six months then it is possible for it to have a max use of 4.5 years. However, if a heavy object (ex. a brick) hits it after just 5 months, then you need to replace it. This shows that it only had a maximum life of 5 months.
To ensure that you get to replace your hard hat at the time it incurs damages, you should check for signs of wear and damage every day. Among the signs during the daily visual inspection that show you need to replace the hat are frayed suspension straps, brittle shell, cracks found in the suspension system, and tears, holes, dents, or cracks in the shell.
If you notice the mentioned signs, it would be best to replace it or just its affected area right away. Also, remember that most hard hats wear quicker in work environments that expose employees to extreme conditions. These include extreme water pressure and sunlight as well as construction sites with lots of grime, dust, and falling objects.
Taking Care of your Hard Hat
If you want to increase the length of time your hard hat serves its purpose then it is advisable to keep in mind the following tips, warnings, and precautions:
Do not modify or alter the suspension or shell – Avoid doing that to the suspension system or the shell in the hard hat as such modifications can cause a drastic reduction on the protection it offers.
Do not drill holes – Avoid drilling holes in the shell as a means of improving ventilation. Doing this can cause damage to the hard hat and prevent it from serving its protective purposes.
Do not wear or carry anything within the hat – You should not put any item within the hat, especially in between the shell and suspension. It is crucial to maintain the right clearance between the shell and your head to ensure that it serves its purpose of protecting you.
If you put any object beneath the cap then this clearance might be hard to maintain. Also, take note that some objects placed beneath the cap also come with metal components that might significantly reduce the dielectric protection supplied by your hard hat, so you have to be careful.
Apart from the mentioned precautions, you should also prevent your hard hat from getting exposed to electrical wires. Also, avoid using a suspension not meant to be used with a specific shell or that offered by another manufacturer.
Understanding how long is a hard hat good for can definitely contribute to helping wearers enjoy all the protective elements of their hard hats within the right amount of time. Also, take note that that apart from the need to replace your hard hat’s shell, there are also times when you need to replace the suspension every year.
The suspension refers to the straps holding your head within the hat. Moreover, constantly remind yourself that you only have one head. With that in mind, you need to protect it with the help of a hard hat, which is in its good condition and still falls within its promised lifespan.