4 Essential Hard Hat Maintenance Tips
Quite a few jobs involve workers using personal protective equipment (PPE), with hard hats being one of the more common pieces of PPE. These shouldn’t just be tossed on and left as is, however. They’ll need maintenance over time, and could end up needing to be replaced at some point.If you’re surprised by that, you might need to learn a few hard hat maintenance tips to make sure you’re as safe as possible. With how important your hard hat is to avoiding on-site injuries, it’s worth investing the time into. Let’s take a look at what you need to know.
1. Routinely Inspect Your Hard Hat
You’ll need to inspect your hard hat regularly to make sure it’s in proper shape. As obvious as that is, not everyone knows what they’re looking for when they’re doing this. By focusing on a few specific areas, you’ll be in a much better position to actually examine and look after your hard hat.
Three specific areas are worth focusing on with this.
The purpose of your hard hat’s suspension is to absorb any blows to the hit, protecting your head from damage. It needs to function correctly to do so, but could become damaged over time. The suspension could get cracked or torn when you’re doing your job, and it could even suffer from frays or get cut.
Keep an eye out for any signs of wear and tear. If there are any, you don’t need to throw out the entire hard hat, however. Instead, it’s simply a matter of replacing the suspension, which is relatively quick and easy.
Check For Degraded Shells
Many hard hats can suffer from degraded shells, which compromises their effectiveness. Keep an eye out for this as much as possible. Thankfully, a simple field test is more than enough to do this.
All you’ll need to do is compress the shell about an inch before releasing the pressure. Make sure you don’t drop it during this process. If the shell returns to its original shape, then it should be fine. When it doesn’t, you’ll need to replace the shell, as it’s become too degraded to function properly.
It’s also possible the shell could crack during the process, meaning it’s too brittle to do its job properly.
Examine the Effects of UV Exposure on Your Safety Hat
You’d be surprised by the impact UV exposure has on a hard hat. If you work in the sun regularly, this damages your hat more than you’d think. It’ll start to deteriorate over time, with the plastic getting weaker and weaker. At a certain point, it won’t be strong enough to do its job anymore.
Check for the signs of this deterioration, such as fading or discolouration. Take proactive measures to prevent it, like storing your hard hat in a dark or shaded area. You’ll prolong its lifespan more than you’d expect.
2. Wash Your Hard Hat With Soap and Water
One of the more overlooked hard hat maintenance tips to be aware of is to keep it clean. Doing so prevents any dirt or chemicals from building up and affecting your health. You don’t need to spend a lot of time or effort on this, and all you’ll need is some warm water and soap.
Armed with these, you’ll simply need to:
- Mix the warm water and soap
- Dip a clean cloth into the solution
- Gently rub the hard hat with the cloth
- Continue until the dirt’s gone
- Rinse with water before drying
With that done, you’ll have a cleaner hard hat than you thought possible.
3. Replace Your Hard Hat’s Suspension
As mentioned above, you’ll need to inspect and look after your hard hat’s suspension. At some point, you might need to replace it. You shouldn’t need to do this too often, however. Most experts suggest doing it every three to five years, or if there’s any damage to the suspension. Thankfully, it isn’t too complicated, and should only take a little while to get done.
4. Replace Your Hard Hat When the Time Comes
There’ll come a point where you’ll need to replace your hard hat. That’ll happen no matter how much time and effort you’ve put into looking after it. You shouldn’t just throw it out when you feel like it, however. It’s worth following a few rules of thumb and knowing what you’re doing before and when you throw it out.
What are the Signs of an Aging Hard Hat?
Your hard hat is one of your more important pieces of PPE, and it needs to function correctly for you to be safe. You’ll need to replace it at some point, but how do you know when this is? There are several signs you’ll need to look for, especially with older hard hats. These are:
● Discolouration and fading
● Cracks or dents
● Too stiff or too flexible
● Any kind of damaged components
If your hard hat shows one or all of these signs, you’ll need to dispose of it. There could be more involved in that than you could be aware of, but it doesn’t need to be complicated.
How to Dispose of Your Hard Hat Safely
Millions of hard hats are thrown out every year because they’re no longer safe to use. You could think simply throwing them in the bin is the best option, it’s far from it. If you go this route, you’ll end up harming the environment. That’s mainly because of the plastic found in the hard hats.
This ends up polluting the environment and causing a wealth of damage. If you want to dispose of your hard hat safely, use a recycling program. There are plenty of these to choose from, and it’ll be easier than you’d think.
With the right hard hat maintenance tips, you’ll have no problem looking after your PPE. Since it’s an essential part of preventing on-site injuries, there’s no reason not to take care of your hard hat. The more you put into it, the better it’ll protect you. What’s stopping you from putting the time into it?