Hard Hats

What are hard hats?
Hard hats, sometimes known as safety helmets, are an item of PPE (personal protective equipment). Hard hats protect your head from falling objects and impact from other objects. They can also protect against electrical shock. Hard hats are typically worn within roofing and construction as well as in forestry and offshore industries. They can be worn in practically any environment by professionals and amateurs alike. Hard hats are a legal safety requirement for workers to wear on most construction sites worldwide.

How are they constructed?
Hard hats are typically made from strong plastic such as HDPE (high-density polyethylene). There are a number of suspension bands within the helmet that spread impact force over the top of the head to reduce the chance of injury. Hard hats are often supplied with a chin strap or ratchet adjustment to keep the hat firmly in place. Some models are vented to keep your head cool whilst working.

Types:
The helmet type defines the type of impact protection:
Type I hard hats offer top impact protection which protects against objects hitting the top of your head.
Type II hard hats provide protection from top and lateral impacts. You are protected from objects hitting the top of your head as well as anything that could hit your head from the side, or off centre.

Classes:
The helmet class defines the level of electrical protection:
Class E (Electrical) hard hats provide protection against falling objects and electrical exposure up to 20,000 volts.
Class G (General) hard hats offer protection against falling objects and electrical exposure up to 2,200 volts.
Class C (Conductive) hard hats offer protection from falling objects but provide no dielectric protection from electrical exposure.

What colour do I need?
Hard hats are available in a range of colours. There is no legislation defining what colour you should use but many construction sites use colours to identify job roles. For example, yellow hard hats are normally worn by general labourers and those involved in earth moving activities. White hard hats are typically used by managers, supervisors and architects. Brown hard hats are worn by those working with equipment at high temperatures, such as welders.

How often should I replace my hard hat?
If your hard hat is damaged, you must replace it immediately. If it isn't damaged, you should still change it periodically. This varies by model, but most manufacturers advise that a hard hat has a lifespan between two to five years.

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