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#1 Posted : 04 October 2000 12:37:00(UTC)
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Posted By Paul Bellis
What is the current thinking on the replacement of hard hats. I am looking at non heavy construction environments ie - building maintenance, surveyors and even safety officers?
#2 Posted : 04 October 2000 15:30:00(UTC)
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Posted By Matt
Guidance from the Personal Protective Equipment Regs (L25) offer some advice as to when head protection should be replaced. In a nut shell it is based upon the manufacturers own advice! However the guidance does detail other circumstances which should be taken into account e.g hats being dropped, scratched, contact with certain chemicals etc.
#3 Posted : 05 October 2000 08:57:00(UTC)
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Posted By Zyggy Turek FIOSH, RSP
Several years ago in a previous life I had the responsibility for "approving" the choice of PPE that the Company bought.
Usage was similar to your situation and guidance from Manufacturers tended to suggest that a hard hat should be changed evey two years.

As a large purchaser (one of the largest in the North West) we decided that this may not be appropriate for our Industry & so we asked the HSE how often they changed theirs!
So, my advice is ask your friendly HSE Inspector the same question and follow their lead!
I hope that this gives you some practical advice.
#4 Posted : 05 October 2000 10:56:00(UTC)
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Posted By Stuart Nagle
Hi, Paul.

First, read and digest the manufacturers instructions that should be attached inside every hard hat, when purchased and recieved by the company stores or by the person to whom it is issued.


1) Hard hats have a date of manufacture. Their 'shelf' life is average of 2 years. This is because the material they are made of is subject to degredation by ultra-violet rays. as it degrades the material becomes brittle and therefore will not offer the standard of protection required and as when new.

2) Nothing should be stuck to or written onto the hard hat. sticky substances (blue tack, labels, felt pens etc) and other types of substances contain chemicals that can seriously affect the material the hats are made of and make them brittle.

If you need logos, labels etc, get the hat manufacturer to supply and put on before purchase. They will put on materials that do not affect the integity of the material.

3) They need to be kept in a clean condition (washed in warm soapy water, rinsed and dryed by hand or naturally - not heated)

4) If work involves use outside in sunlight, regular inspection and more frequent replacement may be required, they degrade in sunlight. Do not store them on the rear parcel shelf of your car. A person who does this obviously knows little about the requirements of safe storage of such hats.
If possible, keep them in a bag that will stop contact with direct sunlight and put in the boot of the car.

5) If dropped onto a hard suface from a height of 1.0 to 1.5m they need to be replaced. Although no apparent damage may be seen, when the brick is inbedded in your head it is too late !!

6) Only use those attachments supplied for the type of helmet you have from the helmets manufacturer. Forced on other types of attachments may well damage the helmet, and in the event of an incident, any insurance claim may be void !!!

7) wear them correctly. Peak to front - not to the back and ensure they are adjuested for correct fit with correct clearance between inside shell and head (abouth 50 to 65mm - see instructions)

If persons have trouble seeing upwards due to peak (i.e. scaffolders, builders etc) they should be supplied with a reduced peak helmet and it should be worn peak to front. The reduced peak is a very good aid to vision whilst still offering protection to the face and eyes.

Hope this helps...

Stuart Nagle
#5 Posted : 09 October 2000 09:00:00(UTC)
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Posted By Merv Newman
Life of hard hats depends heavily on use and exposure, particularly to the sun. Taking all of the above advice into consideration -scratches, labels etc. The best test I have heard of is to try bending the peak (wear gloves) If it snaps or cracks the hard hat is beyond its useful life. If it is still flexible, and there are no other signs of ageing, misuse etc. then it is probably still ok

My own hard hat is one of the glassfibre types which is still ok (I hope) after five years.

#6 Posted : 14 October 2000 17:39:00(UTC)
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Posted By Derek Holt
Manufacturers indicate various working lives on hard hats dependent upon the material of construction, as a manufacturer and training body we advise a life of no more than 2 years for a polycarbonate shell(less if subjected to any points as indicated bt Stuart) and upto 10 years if manufactured from GRP or a kevlar mix.

One point that is worth bearing in mind if hard hats are to be issued to personnel whom work at height ensure that they are complete with an adjustable retaining cradle or as a minimum a chin strap. This will help to ensure that the helmet remains on the persons head if subjected to a fall therefore affording protection on impact and also that the helmet does not become a falling object hazard!
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