If you’re in the construction industry, you’ll likely have to wear a hard hat every day. But as with anything else, it’s essential to know how to buy and care for your hard hat so that you can stay safe at work. In 2019, 5,333 employees died in the workplace, an average of more than 100 per week. In all cases, construction accounted for about 20% or 1,061 of workplace accidents in the private sector.
So, a single mistake could be lethal when it comes to buying and caring for hard hats. Be it ignoring the quality, comfortability, or even hard hat expiration details, everything matters. Here are some tips to help you make the right decision.
Benefits of Wearing Hard Hats
Everyone knows that wearing safety gear while on a job site can save lives, but many people don’t realize just how effective hard hats are at protecting your head. Unlike other safety equipment like gloves or goggles, hard hats cover more than just an area on your body. Here are some of the key benefits:
- Protect your head
- It helps to avoid accidents
- Keeps you comfortable
- Improve job performance
Consider the Weight of Your Hard Hat
A hard hat can range from 1.5 to over 4 pounds depending on style and certification, so you should be sure to consider weight when making your purchase. A lightweight hard hat will be more comfortable in hot environments or for extended wear but ensure it has been appropriately tested before buying. Also, check for hard hat expiration details.
A lighter weight doesn’t necessarily mean safety is sacrificed. Another option is to buy two hats: one for light work where weight isn’t as much of an issue, and another for heavier-duty jobs.
Make Sure Your Hard Hat Is Comfortable To Wear
If you’re only going to wear your hard hat occasionally, that’s one thing. But if you’re going to be wearing it every day, even for short stints of time, you need to make sure that it fits comfortably on your head and feels like an extension of your body.
If there are any buckles or straps that pinch when you wear them, remove them from your construction helmet, they get in the way. Regardless of what kind of hard hat or construction helmet you buy, make sure it fits securely on your head so that nothing falls off unexpectedly while you work.
Don’t Underestimate the Importance of Safety Certification
Hard hats can get damaged in daily use, so most jurisdictions require that hard hats be certified or inspected before you can wear them. Each certificate has an expiration date, usually 2-5 years after issue. Once it expires, you’ll have to replace your hard hat with a new one.
The Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) mandates that specific industries follow stringent health and safety regulations, so it’s always best to look for hard hats that meet or exceed OSHA compliance guidelines for your particular line of work.
The expiration date on your hard hat is there for a reason. Without it, you could find yourself in danger. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health or NIOSH recommends that hard hats be replaced every five years or after being involved in an impact that puts them at risk of breaking.
If you can’t find hard hat expiration information, make sure you check for cracks or damage before each use.
Pro Tip: It’s worth paying a little extra if it means that you’ll have more peace of mind about safety when working on projects around your home or office.
Your hard hat needs cleaning at least every couple of months to make sure it’s not harboring any dangerous fungus. By following these easy tips, you can ensure your hard hat is cared adequately for between inspections.
1. Clean Your Hard Hat Regularly
The condition of your hard hat plays an essential role in how safe it is. You can reduce its overall wear by cleaning your hard hat with soap and water at least once every two weeks.
2. Inspect Your Hard Hat Regularly
Before each job, check to see any cracks or signs of damage on your hard hat. Look especially at its front edge, where it often gets hit during tasks like welding or lumber work.
3. Don’t Drop It From Heights
Please don’t drop it from heights or subject it to extreme weather conditions or physical abuse. These types of things might not be visible at first glance but can contribute to early breakage.
A hard hat is only suitable for one use, but you can extend its life considerably if you take proper care of it.
If it’s expired, toss them out also. If there’s visible damage to your hard hat, like scratches on a visor or chips on an outer shell, you should retire it immediately for safety reasons.