How often should hard hats be inspected?

Hard hats are one of the most common types of personal protection equipment used in the workplace. These durable hats provide a significant protection against falling objects, bumps, and other hazards. While they are certainly made to last, they don’t last forever, which is why it is important to have them inspected regularly.

Illustration of a dusty hardhat with cob webs in profile view.

Inspect After an Incident

If a hard hat is involved with some type of incident where it protected an employee, it should be inspected before it is used again. If a falling object, for example, hits the hard hat, it could cause damage that weakens the structure. Even if it looks fine on the outside, it may have damaged the hat suspension, which will dramatically reduce the amount of protection it can provide. With this in mind, it is important to have the hat inspected, even after minor events.

Inspecting Regularly

Even if there is no incident that could have damaged the hat, it can still wear out over time. The suspension of the hat can become loose or weak after extended use. In environments where it is very hot or very cold, it can become unsafe far more quickly. Inspections of the hard hats should be done every 4-6 months, even if there has been no event or obvious reason why it should have stopped working. These hard hats are exposed to UV radiation, heat, and other potentially damaging things every day they are in use, which is why it is so important to keep up on the regular inspections.

When to Replace a Hard Hat

A hard hat should be replaced whenever it is damaged or otherwise becomes unsafe. In general, OSHA recommends that a hard hat is replaced after two years, even if there is no visible sign of damage. In more extreme working environments, this should be done more frequently. In some cases, just the suspension within the hat can be replaced, but when there is damage to the outer shell, it is important to replace the entire unit.


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