Users of hard hats are required to inspect their helmets before and after each use for any wear or damage that may exist due to a previous incident. A general and efficient inspection procedure should contain the following processes:
1. Check the shell of the hard hat in case there may be any breakage, crack, discoloring, chalky appearance, or anything else peculiar. These serve as red flags to the user, cautioning them that they should realize that the devices are worn out
2. Look for any strange signs in the suspension such as loss of flexibility, cracks, frays, breaks, and even damages in the stitching
3. If you’re an employer, you should survey your employees on the condition of their hard hats. Ask them whether their helmets had previously been subjected to any impact or penetration as they were using them
4. If any of the above conditions exist on your hard hat or that of your employee, you should make an effort to try and replace it immediately.
Taking a chance with a damaged hard hat is dangerous because the suspension mechanism may have been tampered with making the entire system less capable of reducing the impact of objects.
These guidelines help users determine how frequently I should inspect hard hats and make the right choice whenever they find any issue with the helmets. check how often should hard hats be inspected?
When are Hard Hats Required?
Hard hats are required when working in areas that have a potential risk of head injuries. The most common hazards that require maximum protection from hard hats include falling and flying objects, electric shocks, and falling or bumping onto objects.
These helmets are also required when operating massive machinery such as cranes whose load or hook is a few feet above the floor.
On the roads, a hard hat is also required by traffic workmen because they improve the driver’s visibility of the traffic officer and reduces the chances of an accident. They can also be used when working in accelerator tanks where the floorboard may have been removed.
In short, there are many places and times when these hard hats are required to ensure maximum head protection.
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The Importance of Wearing a Hard Hat
Protection from Various Injuries
Any hard hat is usually designed in a manner that protects the user against the potentially risky hazards present within their work environments. These hazards include falling materials, accidental bumps into objects, and lateral blows from objects.
The hard hat is meant to soften, resist, and deflect any blows to the head and distribute the effects over a large area on the user’s head.
The suspension is considered a shock absorber because even though the hard hat is capable of shattering into pieces or dent, it still manages to reflect some of the force from the blow and away from the user’s head.
This helmet is also useful in shielding other parts of the head like the face, scalp, neck, and shoulders from splashes or spills.
For this reason, it is essential for anyone choosing a hard hat always to pick the most efficient and suitable for their work environments. It is also crucial to ensure the hats fit onto the user’s head to ascertain maximum protection.
Protection from Electric Charges
There are workers whose jobs revolve around electric charges such as electricians. These workmen are exposed to thousands of electrical charges a day, therefore, putting their lives at risk, hence it is always recommended that they take maximum protective measures against such risks.
There are specific types of head hats designed to withstand a certain amount of electric charges, while others only handle the physical threats in the work environments.
Class G and E hard hats are rated at 2,200 and 20,000 volts respectively. This means that not only do these hard hats protect against physical injuries to the head, but they are also capable of minimizing the electrical risks that your head is exposed to.
The sample hats from these classes were tested and were only able to withstand the voltage amounts rated to them. Class C hard hats, on the other hand, only protects the head from physical injury.
Shielding from Excessive Perspiration and Discomfort
Since heat and sweat are excreted from the human body, most of it is primarily focused on the head as it has to regulate the blood temperature as some of the blood flow is increased to more areas of the head as well as other body parts.
In such cases, the head serves as a radiator making it the main area in which heat is released from the body.
When you wear any headgear on a hot and humid day, excessive heat builds up around the head area, and this can cause a lot of discomforts. In turn, there would be an increased rate of perspiration, resulting in heat stress and probably even worse.
Hard hats come in many shapes and designs, and nearly all of them are designed in a way capable of blowing away the excess heat that builds up around them.
The wearer feels some sort of comfort that comes with a low rate of sweat around the head area and a much smaller head pressure that is usually caused by overheating.
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They are Easily Visible
Working in construction and industrial environments can be a tricky and risky job because one is subjected to many potential injuries that could have been avoided only if visibility was improved.
The same applies to traffic workers because these individuals are threatened by unpredictable accidents that occur due to poor visibility. To reduce such incidents, hard hats can come in handy.
Wearing a hard hat increases your visibility for your workmates and oncoming traffic on the road. Even visitors to construction and industrial sites are advised to wear hard hats because they make someone visible and others cautious about their presence.
Improves Productivity at Work
Due to the above benefits of wearing a hard hat, the wearer feels less uncomfortable and more protected. This allows them to focus less on the fear of various head injuries to the head, and more on the work itself.
Employers with employees working in potentially hazardous environments are advised to ensure that all their employees are more comfortable and protected with these hard hats. Not only will they enjoy increased efficiency, but also reduced breaks and minimized injury risks.
Many risks tend to be invisible to the employer, and heat stress is one of them. Cool hard hats are beneficial at this point because they tend to reduce the temperatures inside them by blowing off excess heat.
The temperature of cool hard hats is usually mitigated by approximately 20 degrees allowing the workers to stay cool for most of the hot and humid days.
With such conditions, workers are going to find it easier to put in more effort at their workplaces, and the employees would reap more out of it as well.
Myths and Misconceptions Surrounding Hard Hats
Wearing a hard hat doesn’t make one invincible to physical threats; however, ignoring the importance of wearing one can subsequently cost you or your workers their lives.
A few misconceptions are surrounding hard hats that one should be aware of to avoid because they can put you at high risk.
The following are a few of these misconceptions and their realities. How often should hard hats be inspected?
a) You Can Wear a Baseball Cap Underneath Your Hard Hat
Reality: Wearing a baseball cap underneath your hard hat can interfere with the suspension mechanism leaving the entire system ineffective.
Once an object falls on your head, it would be difficult for the system of the helmet to spread the impact over a wider area, thus preventing it from reaching your head.
Therefore, as much as you have been wearing that baseball cap for a while because it brings back memories or engraved with the symbol of your favorite team, you should avoid the temptation of wearing it under your hard hat.
This will ensure your safety is guaranteed and allows you to live another day to cheer on your team at the game.
b) Hard Hats are Designed to Outlive their Users
Reality: Nothing is meant to last forever, even life, and hard hats tend to be no different because they eventually wear down because of exposure to several variables.
You are advised to change the suspension of your hard hat yearly and the helmet itself after about five years.
c) Good-Looking Helmets are Better Off
Reality: A hard hat is one of those devices in which you should never judge a book by its cover unless you’re using the color to identify the profession or work environment it’s used in. You should avoid trying to decorate the helmet with paint or stickers.
This is because the chemicals found in many paints and sticker adhesives are capable of damaging the shell of the hat and prevent you from noticing them. After all, the stickers are covering up the evidence.
d) You Can Wear Your Hat Backward or in Any other Direction
Reality: Most standard hard hats are designed to be worn in one direction, which is the right way. Unless they are specially designed to be worn in both ways, as other helmets are, you should avoid wearing them backward.
This is because you might interfere with how the suspension system is meant to protect your head, and it ultimately increases the risk of injury to your head.
Many other myths and misconceptions are surrounding the use of hard hats. Once you pay attention to these misguiding quotes from unknown sources, you end up reducing the effectiveness of the helmet in protecting your head.
You are required to follow the rules and guidelines offered by OSHA and other major safety organizations that are involved with hard hats. You should even take the time to read the instructions or manuals that come with it every time you purchase one.
Can I Use Different Suspensions and Shells Together?
The manufacturers of these hard hats are responsible for conducting the required tests that involve the shell and suspension, the two primary components of the helmets. These components are usually tested as a unit for them to meet the set standards.
Therefore, suspensions may be tested on various helmet shells by one manufacturer, to ensure its compatibility is perfect. For this reason, you should check with your manufacturer to determine the right types of suspensions and shells for his product.
However, do not, under any circumstances, interchange the suspensions and shells designed by different manufacturers. This is because they may not have been tested with each other and, thus, might not be compatible.
Furthermore, the combo might not comply with the standards and hence, void certification. How often should hard hats be inspected?
How Long is a Hard Hat Good for?
Manufacturers are tasked with ensuring that their products meet CSA and ANSI standards and, therefore, the materials used to design their hard hats are usually durable. However, the question of their lifespan is still being brought forward by many users.
You should understand that these hard hats are exposed to many variables that determine their need for replacement.
Variables such as sunlight exposure, extreme temperatures, exposure to chemicals, and level of use. Therefore you should always check or inspect your hard hat. check this how often should hard hats be inspected?
However, as a general guideline, most of the manufacturers of hard hats recommend replacing their products every five years, regardless of how they look from the outside.
If you happen to work in environments under extreme conditions such as high temperatures, sunlight, or chemicals that are way above the average rate.
Then you should replace the hard hat after every two years. This ensures you maximum had protection at work. check this how often should hard hats be inspected?
Final Thought on How often should hard hats be inspected
As mentioned before, wearing a hard hat doesn’t make you invincible from risks and various hazards around your work environment.
It only reduces the chances of an injury whenever a possible hazard occurs and, therefore, you are always advised to know when to inspect your hard hat safety that is how often should hard hats be inspected?.
Anything can happen unexpectedly; thus, you need to be prepared using a hard hat, and most of all, your conscious awareness.