Your protective hard hat has two basic parts: the shell and the suspension system. Both parts need to be cared for so that they can take care of you. The life of your headgear can be lengthened by cleaning both suspension and shell with a sponge or soft brush dipped in mild detergent and water.
Look for signs of wear such as scratches or gouges. Shells may not last as long if you work in extreme heat or cold, or if they are exposed to chemicals. Under these conditions, they become stiff and brittle and should also be replaced. And if your hat has been hit by an object, saving your head from the blow, retire that protector with honor, too. It has done its job and may not be able to rise to another such occasion.
Each day when you put on your hard hat, pay attention to the fit. This check is especially important if your hair is longer or shorter than usual. If the hat is too loose, your head may be too close to the shell. If the webs are too tight, your hat won't absorb the shock properly, and your head and neck will take the damage. For the same reason, do not carry personal items in your hard hat, which may interfere with the fit.
DOs & DON'Ts for Hard Hat Use and Care:
- DO CLEAN your hard hat as needed with mild soap and water, or other solution recommended by the manufacturer.
- DO STORE your hard hat away from direct sun (like on the dashboard of your vehicle) or in high heat (like in the trunk of a car) while you're off the job.
- DO INSPECT your hard hat shell and suspension for damage and deterioration every day before use, and after any event that may affect its integrity.
- DO REPLACE your hard hat every five years, or when it shows signs of damage or deterioration.
- DO NOT PAINT your hard hat. Paints can degrade the strength of the hard hat shell, causing it to break more easily.
- DO NOT USE SOLVENTS to clean your hard hat. Just like with paint, solvents can degrade the shell.
- DO NOT ALTER OR MODIFY your hard hat. Drilling holes and/or inserting screws in your hard hat so you can add attachments (or for any other reason) can weaken the shell of your hard hat and can also allow electrical currents to pass through.
- DO NOT WEAR A BALL CAP OR BEANIE under your hard hat. Doing so could intefere with the suspension and shell. Cold weather liners approved by the hard hat manufacturer should be used instead.