Hard Hat Warnings and Precautions

Hard Hat Warnings and Precautions

  1. Never alter or modify the hard hat shell or suspension. This can drastically reduce the amount of protection provided. Drilling holes in the hard hat shell for ventilation purposes must be prohibited at all times.
  2. Always avoid contact of the hard hat with electrical wires.
  3. Never use a suspension that is not intended for use with a particular shell or one that is made by a different manufacturer.
  4. Never carry or wear anything inside of your hard hat between the suspension and the shell. A clearance must be maintained between the hard hat shell and the wearer’s head for the protection system to work properly.  A ball cap or other object may limit this clearance.  An object placed under the cap may also contain metal parts that may diminish the dielectric protection provided by the hat. There are some products, such as winter liners and sunshades that are designed specifically to work in conjunction with hard hats.  Be sure to follow manufacturer’s recommendations for the use of these products.

Use of adhesive stickers:  It has become a common practice for hard hat users to apply self-adhesive stickers to personalize their hard hats or for other marking or identification purposes.  Considering the type of adhesive used in typical pressure-sensitive stickers, there is very little potential for chemical interaction between the adhesive and the helmet shell.  As a result, the use of stickers would not be expected to negatively affect the performance of the helmet under normal conditions.  Stickers won’t harm the hard hat’s performance under normal conditions, but limit their use so the helmet shell can be inspected for signs of damage regularly. 

There are a couple of rules to follow related to stickers.

First, adhesive stickers should be placed at least 3/4 inch away from the edge of the helmet.  This prevents the possibility of the sticker’s acting as a conductor between the outside and inside of the shell if it were to wrap around the brim.

Second, the area of the helmet covered by stickers should be kept to a practical minimum to permit regular inspection of the helmet shell for signs of damage.

Hard hats worn backward:  Prior to allowing employees to wear their hats backward, always get written verification from the hard hat manufacturer on whether your hard hat model has been tested and found to be compliant to the requirements of the American National Standards Institute standard when worn with the bill turned to the rear. The manufacturer may specify that proper performance requires the suspension to be reversed in the helmet, so that the headband is oriented normally to the wearer’s head (i.e., with the brow pad against the forehead and the extended nape strap at the base of the skull).  In this manner, only the shell of the helmet is positioned backward on the head.

Hard hats are designed to provide optimal protection under normal conditions.  Any impact can substantially reduce the protection offered.