Does your hard hat expire? Yes, they do. Unlike bread, eggs, and meat, it’s not often that you check for the expiry date of your hard hat. Hard hats may not be consumables, but using them past their “ best before” date will have its consequences.
And using them improperly will also shorten their lifespan. So in this article, we’ll discuss how to check your hard hat expiry date. And how to prevent shortening their life span.
1. What is the expiration date of hard hats
As per most manufacturers, hard hat shells should no longer be used after 5 years. And this should be calculated from the first date of using them.
That’s the general recommendation. But it will still depend on how much wear and tear your hard hat is being subjected to. If it’s for heavy-duty use, you need to replace the outer shell every 2 years.
2. How to check for hard hat expiry date
Unlike bread and canned goods, hard hats do not necessarily have an expiry date stamped on them. So how would you know?
You have to check for the manufacturer’s date. The manufacturer’s date is either molded or stamped on the outer shell of the hard hat. Or you may flip over the hat and you can see it inside.
Different brands have a different maximum lifespans for their hard hats. Some brands offer a 5-year year lifespan, while others may offer 3 years. So it’s also best to check with your manufacturer.
3. When to replace hard hats
So should you replace hard hats only once it has reached its maximum lifespan or expiry date? Not really.
Manufacturers recommend that you should not maximize the lifespan of your hard hat. And the clock starts ticking the moment you use it.
Hard hats undergo a lot of use and abuse. They protect your head from hard falling objects. So just imagine the rough work they have to do. As such, you have to replace your hard hat even before it expires. The more it is subjected to rough conditions, the sooner you have to replace it.
Getting a quality hard hat is important. Gary has a list of the best hard hats you can check here. Ideally, replacing it every two years will ensure that you will be properly protected. But some instances warrant an immediate replacement. See the section below.
4. How to tell if you need a new hat
Don’t wait for the maximum life of your hard hat before buying a new one. In the same way, the 2-year rule does not always apply to all circumstances.
So how do you know when to replace your hard hat. These scenarios below will help you.
- If your hard hast is subjective to a high impact replace it asap. Even if it does not bore any dents or scratches, you need a new one.
- Scores or scruffs on the surface area means that you need a new hat.
- If there are obvious cracks, dents, or holes, replace your hat immediately.
- If the suspension straps are frayed or there is damage to the stitching, replace the straps immediately.
- Replace fiberglass shells if it starts to fade. It means that UV rays have already penetrated the shell and this can weaken the integrity of the shell.
- If your hat seems to be too flexible. It’s starting to weaken. Hence, replacement is warranted.
- If the suspension straps have been to chemicals, they can weaken. Hence you need to replace the straps.
- If your hard hat has been subjected to paints, solvents, or any chemical, replace it asap.
- If your hat has been exposed to excessive heat, it can become brittle.
- Additionally, if it has been exposed to extremely cold weather, replace it also.
5. Additional tips
- When you’re replacing suspension straps, make sure to buy from the same manufacturer. Or get straps that are specifically designed for that hat brand, model, and size.
- Always check for the attachment clips if there are any broken or weakened connections.
- Using incorrect spare parts can void the warranty of your hard hat. Additionally, it will not be able to provide you full protection if the parts are not fitted well together.
- Additionally, you have to wear your helmet properly so it can protect you adequately.
How? The helmet should fit snugly on your head and should be comfortable on the crown of your head. The front of the headband should be one inch from your brows and it should be at the level on your head. And never wear it backward, it’s not a sports cap!
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6. How to make your hard hat last longer
Unknowingly, you might be decreasing the maximum life of your hard hat. Here are some tips on how you can make your hard hat last longer.
- Do not use chemicals or abrasives in cleaning the hat. Oil-based solvents or gasoline can make the shell brittle.
- Any sticky solution such as grease and tar can deteriorate the quality of the hat.
- Don’t use knives, scalpels, or any sharp objects to remove debris from your hard hat.
- Clean the webbing and the headband in mild soap and water. This will remove debris and dirt.
- Be wary about hard hat decoration. Donning your hat with company logos using regular paint can deteriorate its quality. Chemicals in the paint will lessen the degree of protection your hard hat gives you.
- If you still want to imprint the company logo on your hard hats, do so from the hard hat manufacturers. They will have the proper ink that will not damage the integrity of the shell.
- You can use decals but stay away from metallic ones. And the adhesives must not damage the integrity of the outer shell.
Hard hats can predict your head from the risk of falling objects. That’s why you should wear it properly and take care of it. And you should replace it once it shows any of the signs that we have mentioned above.
Alternatingly, even if it still looks new but it was subjected to hard impact, buy a new one. Otherwise, you’d be risking a lot and it will not be able to provide you optimum protection.