Construction and building work might just be a hazardous occupation. Operators and engineers are more than four times more likely than those in other industries to have traumatic brain injuries, and most of these incidents can have long-term consequences.
Hard hats add an extra layer of security. A modern construction helmet may hold your head safe for years if properly cared for. However, abrasions and heavy wear and tear can dramatically diminish a hard hat’s lifespan—and in some occurrences, such as a hard-hit impact on the shell, necessitates prompt replacing.
But, how long is a hard hat good for? Read on to know more.
There is no hard hat expiration rule
The OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) explains and executes the health and safety rules in the place of work, especially the personal protective equipment (PPE). Their regulations demand “protective helmets” for workers in sectors where there is a “potential threat of head trauma from an impact or a possible heavy hit from falling or flying things,” as well as in conditions where electrocution hazard or burns to the head may happen.
Employers must also ensure that each hard hat offers a sufficient degree of protection for the duration of its use. According to Federal Laws and Statutes, protective equipment (including protective helmets) must be kept in a hygienic and effective quality.
So, how long is a hard hat good for?
A life expectancy of a hard hat can be dramatically reduced by wearing, abrasion, and impact. However, even well-maintained construction hats have an expiry date. Many suppliers suggest that hard helmets be removed from service after six years of initial usage. However, even if they seem to be in good shape, supportive straps should be renewed yearly.
Each maker has its own set of criteria for hard hat life expectancy. Many people advocate for service life and how long the hard hat is good for, which calculates the expiry date depending on when it has been used. As a result, users are recommended to record the purchase date inside freshly received helmets.
It provides a specific retirement date for even new helmets. Also, note that the manufacturers often mark the year and month of manufacturing within the brims of the hard hats. So, there’s literally no fuss!
Factors that trigger replacement of a hard hat before its expiry date
The quality of a hard hat very much depends on how well it is maintained. Some severe forms of damages that potentially diminish the lifespan of a hard hat are:
- High wear and tear.
- Frequent abrasions and exposure to hostile weather conditions.
- Too much exposure to sunlight and ultraviolet rays.
- Exposure or contact to dangerous chemicals.
- Heavy impact.
- Frequent collisions.
- Exposure to other harmful radiations.
Always inspect the hard hat
Even though the hard hat’s best before date is still several years away, shell defects and discoloration are reasons for replacements. The same would be true for any headgear involved in a collision or crash, even if it seems to be intact.
Regular maintenance can detect and resolve these issues. A typical hard hat inspection routine consists of the following steps:
- Always inspect the shell, examine it thoroughly, looking for any signs of impact, corrosive damage, UV degradation, or contact with severe weather conditions (for example, flaking or brittleness).
- Check and test the suspension and mounting components. Replace the suspension if it is tattered, shredded, stiff, or if the stitching is damaged—but only consider the manufacturer’s suggested parts and components. Check that any clips used to attach the suspension have a firm grip.
- Checking for weakness or breakage in headbands, chin belts, and other supporting components, replace faulty components (with parts specified explicitly by the maker of your hard helmet).
- To examine the date of manufacture and the first dates of the hard hat, look for a stamp engraved underneath the brim of many helmets that indicate the manufacture date. The date of the first usage will also be handwritten within. To verify if the helmet has approached the end of usage time, follow the manufacturer’s guidelines to know the exact expiration dates. This procedure helps to know how long the hard hat is good foruse!
Remember that your safety depends on the quality of the hard hat
Construction is a challenging and potentially hazardous business. Even with trained staff and a well-managed worksite, injuries occur. However, with frequent examinations and a sharp eye on the expiration date of your headgear, you may be sure that your equipment will reduce or eliminate life-threatening threats. Keep your head safe—and continue to extend the life of your hard hat by eliminating any potential problems.