How to Wear a Hardhat
Posted on Jul 28, 2017 by Kathy DeGlandon
Are You Wearing Your Hard Hat the Right Way? A hard hat may be a pain to wear for many of you, but we have to wear them in hazardous workplace environments. Yes, you may think it’s too hot to wear or that it’s a nuisance because it feels like it’s about to fall off, but it’s a very necessary part of your protective equipment. After all, righands wear them, toolpushers wear them, technicians wear ...
ARE YOU WEARING YOUR HARD HAT THE RIGHT WAY?
A hard hat may be a pain to wear for many of you, but we have to wear them in hazardous workplace environments. Yes, you may think it’s too hot to wear or that it’s a nuisance because it feels like it’s about to fall off, but it’s a very necessary part of your protective equipment. After all, righands wear them, toolpushers wear them, technicians wear them, and if you’re anywhere that you can receive a workplace head injury, you have to wear one. But are you taking care of vital piece of equipment, and do you wear yours correctly? Read on to find out.
WHAT IS A HARD HAT AND HOW IS IT CONSTRUCTED?
A hard hat is a helmet like hat that protects the worker’s head from any falling object or an impact from workplace hazards. It is a piece of personal protective equipment and, on average, weight 14 ounces. A hard hat consists of two parts; the outer shell and the harness. The outer shell can be made of a variety of materials, usually some form of non-conductive thermoplastic, like polyethylene or polycarbonate. The second part, the harness, is made of strips of nylon webbing that are woven and molded bands of HDPE, vinyl, or nylon. This material with a strap suspension/harness is adjustable for a custom fit.
Hard hats are categorized in two types: I and II. Type I are made to protect the top of the head from any falling objects. Type II protect the wearer from any blows and objects, the back of the head as well as side and top. Hard hats are then further divided into classes, E, G, and C, with these classifications defining how well the hat will resist electrical shock.
HOW TO TAKE CARE OF YOUR HARD HAT.
Regular inspection is vital to keeping your hard hat working for you to keep you safe.
First Time Inspection Before you use your hard hat for the first time, make sure that you have the proper type and class for your job. Be sure to assemble your hard hat as per the manufacturer’s specifications. Once you have your hat assembled, adjust the harness for a proper fit, ensuring that it is snug but not too tight. Your hat should be tight enough to stay on your head without slipping, binding or irritating your skin.
Regular Inspection Each time you use your hard hat, you will need to inspect it. Look for any cracks in the outer covering. Any cracks, gouges or flaking can be problematic if you get bumped on the hat. Any deterioration, such as cracks or chalking, can cause the hat to break when hit, banged, or knocked. Look at the harness straps to ensure that they are not frayed and that the hat fits snugly but not too tightly on the head. All points of the suspension should be properly fitted into the slots that suspend it from the outer covering.
Cleaning and Maintenance Using a mild soap and some warm water is the best way to keep your hard hat clean. Using harsher or more abrasive cleaners could mar the surface, which can weaken the shell or harness. Always store your hard hat away from contaminates that can damage it and protect it from dirt and debris. Direct sunlight and excessive heat can harm the outer shell and cause the harness to deteriorate over time.
When Is It Time to Replace My Hard Hat?
Depending on how and when you use it will determine when to replace your hat. Most manufacturers have specific recommendations detailing when you will need to replace your hard hat, and often the manufacture date is molded into the outer shell. The average lifetime for a hard hat is 2 to 5 years, depending on use and manufacturer’s recommended guidelines. Ultimately, if your hat shows wear or if it’s taken a blow, then it is best to replace it.
HOW TO WEAR (AND NOT TO WEAR) A HARD HAT
Wearing a hard had can save your life, but if you wear it improperly, you could be doing more harm than good. Below is a list of dos and don’ts to follow to properly wear your hard hat.
- Always adjust the harness suspension to maintain the proper clearance between your head and hat. There should be approximately 1 to 1 1/4 inches clearance from your head.
- Do not alter the shell or suspension, specifically do not drill holes in outer shell.
- Don’t wear your hard hat backwards unless the manufacturer states that you can.
- Only use the manufacturer’s recommended harness made specifically for a given shell.
- Do not wear anything, such as a sock cap or ball cap, under your hard hat.
- Avoid putting anything under your hard hat, except your head. Using it as an extra pocket, will only result in injury.
- Putting stickers on your hat is fine, but keep stickers to a minimum. Hats are often reflective, and stickers can reduce this necessary safety feature.
- Always remember to replace your hard hat if it has been dropped or forcibly struck.
- If a hard hat has been dropped more than 8 to10 feet or has been struck forcibly, it should be replaced immediately.
- Do not wear or carry anything in between the shell and the suspension of your hard hat.
A hard hat is a necessary part of your personal protection equipment. It helps to protect your head from bumps and knocks. Additionally, it will keep you safe around low-hanging equipment and from falling objects. Wearing your hat may be a pain to many of you, but it will keep your most important asset, your brain safe. So the next time you’re gearing up for work, don’t forget to inspect you hat and then protect your head.