Hardhats have come a long way. Designed with a suspension in the crown and tested to withstand 40 foot-pounds to protect the wearer from falling objects, hard hats are made to keep you safe.
When an object falls, it gains speed and impact force. For example, a 10 pound object will hit you with an impact force of 100 pounds after falling just 10 feet.
The object does not have to be large to hurt or kill. Imagine the injury you might receive from a falling nut, bolt, tool or brick. Suppose a crescent wrench weighing 1-1/2 pounds falls from a height of 24 feet and hits the head of someone working below with a force of 36 foot-pounds. If this person is wearing his hardhat he probably will come away unhurt. But if he has taken off his hardhat, even for a second to wipe his face or scratch his head or if he has altered his hardhat in any way, the results could be disastrous.
A hard hat protects the head against:
Impact from falling or flying objects or from knocking against something hard. One of the most common causes of injury is a blow to the top of the head.
Penetration by sharp or heavy objects. This can cause cuts, skull fractures or brain injuries.
Overhead spills or splashes of molten metals, chemicals or solvents. They can cause chemical or heat burns.
Electric shock from contact with live electric circuits. This can cause severe shock and burns.
Harmful dusts accumulating in hair and causing scalp irritations.
Take care of your head gear:
Inspect hardhats before each use. Check for cracks, dents, signs of wear, etc. Check suspension system for loose or broken straps, ravelled stitching, loose or broken lugs.
Replace damaged or worn out hats or hats which have been hit hard.
Have suspension system replaced at least once a year if your safety hat is used regularly.
Minimize exposure to sunlight, extreme heat or cold and chemicals. Never store hardhats in rear window shelf of a car or truck.
Remove dirt and moisture after use. Clean hat at least once a month using warm water and recommended cleaning agent. Air dry.
Store your hardhat properly in racks inside vehicles or in lockers or other designated areas.
Never drill holes in your hardhat. It not only reduces its ability to withstand the impact of a heavy blow but reduces its insulation value. Never paint the surface of your hard hat because this defeats the purpose of its insulation requirements. It then could become conductive.
Hardhats deflect falling objects, absorb shock and spread the impact force over a larger portion of the head and neck. Hardhats are credited with saving hundreds of thousands of injuries annually.