Hard Hats

Hard hats are built to meet ANSI standards for impact. All modern (fiber and resin and plastic) hard hats are date code stamped inside the hat. Don’t do anything to void the manufacturer’s warranty. This may include painting it and even applying adhesive stickers. Sunlight can play havoc on the durability and impact resistance of plastic hard hats. Plan on changing out hard hats at intervals based on the use and age of the hat. If your plastic hard hat shows signs of brittleness such as hairline cracks or will crack or chip if bent, it’s time to replace it. At a minimum, replace the hard hat per the manufacturer’s recommendation.

Don’t attach tools or work items to your hard hat such as a clip-on tape measure, spring clamps, Chicago fitting pins, pencils, etc. If an object falls on your hat, you don’t want anything on it that might hang-up the falling object or in turn fall off and hit you.

In the field, we commonly see people wearing duck bill hard hats backward. Even if you have attached the hat suspension backward in the hat so the brim faces over your neck instead of your nose, the hat will not provide the protection that it was designed to. The brim is there to protect your face and the nose on it. Without a brim there, you may be more liable to receive a face injury. Now, welders commonly wear their duck bill hard hat backward so they can also wear a welding mask. However, OSHA frowns on that practice. Practically speaking, if not welding or a similar task where the use of a front-facing hard hat bill is mutually exclusive, then hard hats should be worn with the brim facing forward. There are specially designed duck bill suspensions that allow you to easily and quickly rotate the hat from bill forward to back and front again as needed. Keep in mind that the brim can protect the face and nose from injury from falling objects and if you wear a hard hat reversed with no other means of face protection, then you are probably at greater risk of injury compared to the person wearing the hard hat correctly.

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