Employee Handbook & Safety Policies
PPE Training

Hard Hats

The main function and purpose for wearing a protective hard hat is to:

1. Help protect workers from head trauma due to small objects falling from above

2. Help prevent force from transmitting down the spine if an impact from above occurs

3. Help protect from low level electrical shock (Applies only to hard hats that meet ANSI/ISEA Z89.1-2009 Type I, Class G and E.)

How does the hard hat protect workers from each hazard?

Typical applications for the Hard Hats, when used with other appropriate PPE include:

o Construction work
o Heavy and light industrial
o Petrochemical
o Mining
o Road construction
o Forestry
o Utilities

In all cases a risk/hazard assessment should be carried out and use limitations considered to ascertain the protection required.

Replacement Recommendations

Hard hat should be immediately replaced if subjected to impact. 3M recommends the wearer replace the hard hat suspension at least every twelve months and the hard hat shell at least every two to five years depending on work environment. Inspect the hard hat, including the suspension and shell, prior to each use. Replace at first sign of wear. Refer to user instructions for proper installation and replacement of the suspension.

Hard Hat Inspection

A hard hat shell should be inspected prior to each use. Immediately replace the hard hat if any sign of wear appears or if there is any evidence of damage, abuse or plastic degradation as this may be a sign that protection is reduced. Any hard hat that shows signs of worn or damaged parts should be removed from service immediately and replaced.

Workers in environments with higher levels of exposure to sunlight, heat, cold or chemicals should replace their hard hats more frequently than workers in other environments. If the hard hat shell becomes faded in color, exhibits a chalky appearance, or feels stiff and brittle, degradation of the shell may be occurring. A hard hat should be replaced immediately at the first sign of any of these conditions.

Hard hat suspensions should also be inspected closely for cracks, frayed straps or other signs of wear. Any suspension that is damaged must be removed from service and replaced immediately. It is recommended to replace the entire suspension system at least every 12 months.

Maintenance and Storage

Clean the hard hat and suspension with mild soap and water. Rinse and wipe dry. Do not use paints, solvents, chemicals, adhesives, gasoline or like substances on this hard hat. Store the hard hat away from direct sunlight.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. When should head protection be provided to workers?

A. When there is potential for:

1) Objects to fall from above
2) Contact with fixed objects (exposed beams, pipes, etc.)
3) Contact with exposed electrical conductors

Q. How does a hard hat protect the worker?

A. It helps protect workers in the following ways:

1) Resists and deflects blows to the head
2) Reduces shock to protect the neck and spine
3) Can insulate against electrical shock (Applies only to hard hats that meet ANSI/ISEA Z89.1-2009 Type I, Class G and E.)

Q. Is a hard hat compliant if worn backwards by the worker?

A. Only if the hard hat was tested to the standard with the suspension in the reverse position and the hard hat is marked with the "reverse donning" symbol.

Q. What factors can damage a hard hat?

A. All of the following:

1) Impact to the hard hat
2) UV exposure
3) Chemical exposure
4) Abuse

Q. How often should a hard hat be replaced?

A. Under any of the following circumstances:

1) Immediately if a blow to the hard hat occurs.
2) Shell - Recommended to replace every 2 - 5 years dependent on environment and use
3) Suspension - Recommended to replace at least every 12 months dependent on environment and use

There is currently no official standard or regulatory requirement for replacing a hard hat or suspension - only recommendations.

Additional Hard Hat Warnings:

o Hard hats are designed to provide limited head protection from small falling objects striking the top of the hard hat.
o Type 1 hard hats are not designed to provide front, side or rear impact protection.
o In order to provide maximum protection, the hard hat must fit securely on the head and the suspension must be adjusted to a snug fit.
o Never alter, puncture, modify or engrave the shell or the suspension of a hard hat.o Inspect your hard hat shell and suspension frequently. Check for cracks, frayed straps and any sign of damage before every use. Replace the hard hat immediately if you notice any signs of wear, damage, abuse or degradation.
o If the hard hat has sustained an impact, dispose of it immediately, even if damage is not visible.
o Prolonged exposure to direct sunlight will degrade the hard hat shell. Do not store in direct sunlight when not in use.
o Do not use paints, solvents, chemicals, adhesives, gasoline or like substances on this hard hat. These materials can cause deterioration to the shell's ability to withstand impact and penetration.
o Do not store objects between the suspension and the shell of a hard hat.