On medications, milk, bread, and other items, we’ve conditioned ourselves to glance at the expiration date on the label. But we also know that if certain of these out-of-date consumables are not managed appropriately, they might go bad before their time.
For example, leaving a glass of iced milk in the hot sun will immediately sour.
Did you know that hard helmets have an “expiration date” as well?
Where do you look for the hard hat expiration date, and why is it important? The date of manufacturing is frequently engraved or molded into the hard hat shell, on the underside of the brim. This is the best time to use the product; after then, you should modify it to ensure its safety.
To verify the expiry date, you must first know where to look for it, so let’s start there.
- What Is a Hard Hat?
- Are There Expiration Dates for Hard Hats?
- Where to Find the Expiration Date of a Hard Hat?
- How Long Is a Hard Hat Good for?
- How About if My Hard Helmet Is No Longer Valid?
- When Should You Replace Your Hard Hat?
- Frequently Asked Questions
What Is a Hard Hat?
A hard hat is a helmet commonly worn at commercial or worksites to cover the head from harm caused by falling items, impact with other things, dust, rainfall, and electrocution. Tension bands within the helmet affect the weight of the hat and the pressure of any collision across the top of the head. A midline reinforcing ridge is used in certain helmet shells to increase impact resistance.
Are There Expiration Dates for Hard Hats?
So are there expiration dates on hard hats? In a technical sense, the answer is no.
However, most manufacturers offer guidelines for hat and suspension lifetimes. Some should not be used for more than 5 years due to OSHA hard hat expiration, and suspension should be changed every 12 months. Both are the maximum replacement time frames, determined from the date of the first usage.
So, when do hard hats expire? How long is a hard hat good for? Depending on the environment, application, and use, the shell may need to be changed as frequently as every two years.
But don’t count on your hard hat lasting that long. Of course, if you just use it sometimes and keep it in pristine shape, it may. Hard helmets, on the other hand, do not have it easy, and if you respect your head, as you should, you should know that you will regularly need to replace your hard hat before it expires.
Where to Find the Expiration Date of a Hard Hat?
The hard hat expiration date is embossed or molded into the hard hat shell, usually on the underside of the brim. Similarly, the hard hat date stamp will be tagged with the month, and year of manufacture, as well as the headband size. Remember that the recommended renewal date is one year from the date of first use. Marks or labels on the hard helmet can be used to determine when it was originally worn. This reduces the likelihood of needing to replace a hard sound helmet too soon.
You can watch this video for further information:
When replacing the suspension or any other component, use only those built according to the original manufacturer’s specifications for that model and size. Hard helmets are examined and certified as a system, including the product’s suspensions, which are fitted and permitted.
The certificate is rendered null and void if the components and attachments are incorrect or unlawful. Furthermore, if the headband and web are not correctly adjusted, the degree of impact protection may be lowered or removed. The impact space may be inadequate.
How Long Is a Hard Hat Good for?
So, how long can you expect a hard helmet to last once you purchase it? Is it still valid beyond the expiration date?
It’s a common misconception that you may use your hard helmet until it expires, but from the manufacturers’ instructions, this is not the situation. The expiry date, not the replacement date, is the maximum life expectancy.
Hard hats have a hard life; they are continuously exposed to the elements, get bumped and damaged, and are even dropped. They are designed to withstand a wide variety of impacts.
The manufacturer’s instructions come with your hard helmet. On the other hand, it will frequently include lines like “If the hard hat has experienced an accident, discard it quickly, even if there is no obvious damage.”
If your hard helmet has been impacted while in use, you should replace it.
A hard hat’s service life begins the first time it is worn. You should keep this date in mind and do frequent visual checks for scuffs, dings, and other problems.
The length of time you can use your hard hat relies on several things, including how long you wait after purchasing it from the manufacturer and what happens to the hard helmet when you use it.
The hard hat lifespan might range from one day to the expiry date, based on any possible damage.
How About if My Hard Helmet Is No Longer Valid?
In all cases, when the expiration date has passed, the hard helmet should be changed, regardless of how good it looks to be.
Consequently, even if the hard helmet has never been worn, this requirement should apply.
A hard helmet isn’t immediately put to work when it’s made. For the first year following production, a hard helmet may sit in a store or storage unit and not be worn at all. Isn’t it safe to assume that the hard helmet will be OK if it is still packaged and covered?
Hard hats are manufactured of a material that degrades over time. It can become fragile and lose its impact strength, providing less safety if you are hit in the head. Check this guide to know what are hard hats made of.
Even if a hard hat was never used, it might have been stored in a chilly location or near a window, exposing it to sunlight. Different environmental variables will have varying effects on the strength and performance of a hard hat.
Hard helmets are meant to divert the force of impact. But if the polymer shell has degraded, not only is the hard hat more prone to shatter, but impacting items are more likely to enter rather than deflect.
After all, the manufacturer is significantly more knowledgeable about the design and components of your hard helmet than you are. So pay attention to what they say and don’t vary from their advice.
When Should You Replace Your Hard Hat?
Some visual symptoms of hard hat deterioration, such as cracks, dents, or holes, are clear reasons to take the hard helmet out of operation. However, even little marks or scuffs on the surface may indicate that it’s time to retire it.
Remove a hard helmet from service immediately if it has been affected or pierced.
Impact dents stress the hard helmet material, resulting in unacceptable weak points. Scuffs or scores degrade it further by thinning down the shell. Consider replacing the item as soon as possible.
If the suspension straps are ragged or broken, or if the stitching is broken, simply withdraw the webbing and replace it with a new suspension component.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is hard hat maintenance and usage?
Nothing lasts indefinitely. However, your hard hat is one of the most durable pieces of personal protective equipment you own. Proper upkeep can assist in guaranteeing that your hard hat lasts the full recommended life.
- Examine the hard to wear regularly, each time you want to wear it. When in a safe location, do brief checks throughout the workday.
- Cleaning hard hats using a certified cleaner is recommended.
There should be no use of strong chemicals or cutting tools. Because oil-based solvents will corrode the shell, avoid using petrol or similar compounds to eliminate oil, grease, and other sticky impurities.
Is it allowed to paint on the shell?
Some paints are corrosive to shell materials. This lowers the amount of protection provided by the hard helmet. However, the market has appropriate inks that will not compromise the shell’s structure and will be durable or fade.
Some decals may be used as long as they are not metal. The adhesive is not harmful to the shell’s constitution, and they are not positioned closer than 12″ from the helmet’s surface.
Your hard hat is the most crucial part of the body, and you want to ensure it works as hard as you do. Keep an eye out for symptoms that your hard hat needs to be changed.
When there is a risk of falling or flying items, wear your hard hat. It isn’t just the legislation, it’s the responsible thing to do.
Our content editor is Joshua Clark. His writing and editing skills are such that he can simplify even the most intricate concept for the benefit of the reader. It’s excellent to have him on board since he can help us develop a comprehensive database on PPE matters impacting all construction workers, from amateurs to veterans.