OSHA has very specific guidelines to protect workers from head injuries. Because of how often head protection is required, workers should take extra precautions to ensure their hard hat is taken care of. Despite their rugged construction, hard hats don’t last forever. They must be inspected daily or before each use. Workers should consult the manufacturer’s information on proper care and maintenance, including which cleaning products damage the hat.
Workers should also clean the hat regularly with warm water and soap, and allow it to air dry. daily inspection of the shell, headband, suspension system, and other accessories is necessary.
Hard hats are available with varying levels of protection:
- Type I is the most common type of head protection. Type I protects the top of the head from impact.
- Type II protects the top and sides of the head from impact.
- Class E should be worn by employees working near electrical hazards. Class E hard hats have been tested to 20,000 volts.
- Class G provides minimum protection against electrical hazards. These hard hats have only been tested to 2,200 volts.
- Class C is classified as conductive. This class of hard hats should not be worn when working with or near electricity.
Employees must replace a headband that’s stretched or worn. The entire hat should be replaced if the shell is cracked, broken, or punctured, or if the hat has taken a heavy blow (even without any signs of damage).
Overall fit is an important additional factor in PPE use. Hard hats should never be too tight, too loose, or irritate the skin. Other equipment (such as safety glasses, or lights) must not compromise the safety elements of the hat.
Hard hats should be replaced after five years of use when they’re worn in environments with extreme sunlight, chemicals, or temperatures. Suspensions should be replaced after one year of use.
Source: Bic Magazine & SafeStart