Hard Hat FAQ

Q. What is the service life of my hard hat?

A. The hard hats are designed with high quality, wear-resistant materials but it WILL NOT last forever. The protective properties of the helmet WILL be degraded by exposure to many common work nvironments, such as temperature extremes, chemical exposure, sunlight and normal daily wear and tear. The following is a recommend replacement schedule:

Hard Hat Suspension - replace after NO MORE THAN 12 months; Entire Hard Hat - replace after NO MORE THAN 5 years.

Remember that these are MAXIMUM useful service life guidelines. Wear or damage noticed during a regular inspection MUST be the determining factor for possible earlier replacement. In any case, ALWAYS replace the hard hat after it has withstood impact or penetration.

Q. There is a date code on the inside of my hard hat – is this when the service life starts?

A. A hard hat’s service life starts when it is placed in service. This date should be recorded in the helmet, either on the ANSI label or with the use of a date of service label. The "date code" stamped on the inside of your hard hat refers to the date of manufacture, not the starting date for useful service.

Q. I have a suspension from a manufacturer other than the original manufacturer, can I use it?

A. NEVER attempt to interchange suspensions from one hat manufacturer to another. Use only the appropriate replacement parts from the original manufacturer. If you do not know who manufactured your hard hat you will need to replace the entire hard hat.

Q. Can I wear my hard hat backwards?

A. This depends on the manufacturer of your hard hat. If the suspension attachment points on your hard hat are the same from front to back, the suspension can be reversed and the cap worn with the brim facing the rear and still meet the requirements of the applicable protective headwear standard. Be sure that the suspension has been reversed so that the nape strap is in the rear. Many hard hat manufactures now offer swing-style suspensions that allow for you to quickly reverse the direction of your hard hat.

Q. Can I paint my hard hat?

A. Never paint a hard hat. Paint may chemically attack and damage the hard hat’s shell, thereby reducing the degree of protection originally provided.

Q. Can I put anything in the space between the hard hat shell and suspension?

A. Items such as gloves, cigarettes and earplugs should NEVER be stored between the suspension and the shell. This space is needed when the shell and suspension absorbs the energy of an impact. Such objects in this space can transmit large forces to the head and neck, resulting in serious injury or death.

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