HomeNewsHere’s How to Properly Inspect Your Hard Hat
by Sarah SimonovichMarch 21, 2019
No matter the industry or the sport, safety helmets and hard hats are central to remaining safe. When it comes to entertainment rigging, and industrial material handling, hard hats are important pieces of personal protective equipment (PPE). However, for a hard hat to be effective, you must take the necessary steps to make sure it’s in proper working order. In this post, we cover the basics on how to properly inspect your work hard hat.
Step 1: Know your hard hat’s history
The first step to hard hat inspection is simple: get to know the history of your product. This includes knowing where the hard hat has been stored. This is key because extreme weather or temperatures can jeopardize the hard hat. Other factors that play a role in getting to know your hard hat are knowing the hard hat’s age, potential modifications made to said hard hat, and whether the hard hat was involved in a previous impact or fall arrest scenario.
Step 2: Make preliminary observations
Once you know your hard hat’s history, you can make some preliminary observations. While making these observations, you want to check the serial number and CE mark. By doing this, you are confirming that you have an authentic piece of hardware. When you know how old your hard hat is, check with the manufacturer; manufacturers recommend replacing hard hats at different time variables You also want to compare the old hard hat to a brand new one to see if there are any modifications or missing elements.
Step 3: Inspect the hard hat’s shell
Once you’re familiar with the hard hat, you should check the shell. Make sure that there are no marks, impacts, deformations, cracks, burns, wear, or signs of chemical products present. If you notice any of these damages, remove the hard hat from service immediately.
After examining your hard hat’s outer shell, inspect the inner shell. You want to look for things such as marks, cracks, deformations, or missing parts. If any of those are present, remove the hard hat from service.
Note: Do not remove the liner attached to the shell during an inspection.
Checking the ventilation holes and slots is a crucial step. This can sometimes be overlooked; however, ensuring that there are no cracks and that the ventilation slots function properly is necessary.
Step 4: Check the protective hard hat liner
Checking the liner is a very simple yet very important factor in hard hat inspection. You should look for things like cracks, marks, and missing parts. It is ok in this step to remove comfort pads to get a better look at potential damage, but you should not remove the liner attached to the shell.
Step 5: Inspect the webbing
In this step, you will want to check the hard hat’s “cradle,” or webbing. Look for major signs of wear, cuts, burns, and the deformation of plastic pieces within the hard hat. If you notice any of these, remove the hard hat from service.
Step 6: Examine headband and attachments
Don’t forget to examine the headband as well as all headband attachments. Keep an eye out for extreme signs of wear, deformation, and missing pieces. If it is necessary, remove the foam or comfort pads for a better look.
Step 7: Ensure the adjustment system works
Now you should check the adjustment system. When examining the adjustment system, you need to make sure it is functioning properly. This would mean the crank moves in both directions smoothly, and the device is not missing any pieces.
Step 8: Check the hard hat’s chin straps
Check the chin strap to make sure all the pieces are there and that they lock properly. You can check this by clipping the clasps together then lightly pulling to make sure they do not pull apart. You will also need to make sure all the straps are free from wear and damage and that the plastic clasps don’t have any breaks or cracks. If the damage is present, it is unusable.
Step 9: Inspect comfort foam
A hard hat’s comfort foam is another key safety component that can wear out from use. When inspecting this feature, look for missing chunks or flaking material. If any of the foam is damaged, you should replace it. If the material is dirty or looks crusty, however, it may just require a wash. If you suspect that the foam pads are just dirty, wash them and reexamine when clean.
Step 10: Examine all additional accessories
Headlamp clips are essential for some jobs, depending on the conditions you are working in. If you have these on your safety hard hat, examine them to make sure they are still in good shape. To do this, simply check for deformation or missing parts. Replace them as necessary.
If you have any additional accessories on your safety hard hat, such as face shields, you will need to examine those before use, as well. When examining these, make sure that the accessory isn't in horrible condition or causing damage to the hard hat.
Replacing your safety hard hat
When it comes to safety hard hats and maintaining maximum protection, stick to this mantra: when in doubt, throw it out. If your safety hard hat or hard hat has been impacted by a fall or has exceeded the manufacturer’s suggested timeline for use, it is time to replace it. If certain components are damaged, they will need to be repaired or replaced, or you may need a new hard hat, depending on the severity of the issues.
If you find yourself in need of a new safety hard hat, our FA2 Hard Hat with Visor is a versatile vented hard hat for work at ground- or high-level. It conforms to EN397 for impact protection and is a part of FA2’s Fall Protection Kit. The Fall Protection Kit includes a specially-selected range of personal protective gear for all hardworking men and women in various industries. It is a safe, convenient, and affordable choice for anyone looking to start or build upon their fall protection and PPE.