Industrial workplaces demand specific tools and equipment to conduct work safely and effectively. Those working in the construction field recognize the importance of personal protective equipment as the last line of defense in combating workplace injuries and incidents. Hardhats serve as a major component in the personal protective equipment grouping.
While often referred to as a simple bucket of plastic worn atop the head, hardhats provide a serious level of protection in dealing with falling objects. A simple bolt falling from 20 feet above can increase in velocity and render a disastrous blow when striking a naked head. That plastic dome on the head is the difference between an uncomfortable strike and a fatal blow.
As a result, hardhats demand maintenance and care. Exercising proactive measures can prolong the life of the hardhat and ensure they remain effective in their protective abilities.
Protecting the Shell
Known as the shell, the main component of the hardhat acts as a shield of protection. Their condition requires constant attention and must be inspected frequently. Experience, tenure, and even personality identification have long been accomplished by plastering hardhats with stickers ranging from an individual’s favorite sports team to the company that offers them employment. The more stickers signifies acceptance and experience but actually can hinder the inspection process. In fact, recommendations prevail that workers should refrain from affixing stickers on the sides, top, and rear of the hardhat. Workers should inspect hardhats for cracks and compromise, and a pattern of stickers decorating the shell could mistakenly conceal these potential issues.
Additionally, decorating hardhats with permanent markers must be avoided. An adverse chemical reaction can occur and further comprise the hardhat shell. Hardhats should remain free of anything foreign that does not accompany them in their original packaging.
Hardhats trap heat exiting the head, and this proves difficult to manage, especially in the hot weather months. Simply put, hardhats are hot. While creativity fuels innovation, workers must refrain from tampering with hardhats. Drilling holes in the top of the shell might allow for a route of heat escape, but the shell becomes effectively damaged as a result. Just like proper training educates workers on the importance of not altering a tool, the same practice applies to the hardhat.
Commonly known as the hardhat headgear, the inner suspension system supports the hardhat and allows it to properly ride on the head and keep it off the ears. Proper use is crucial in rendering results should a falling object strike.
Regular cleaning of the headgear prolongs the lifespan and ensures effective use. Deforming its positioning by stuffing objects inside the shell or tying paraphernalia to the banding compromises the fit and results in damage.
Hardhats find exposure to UV rays in the outdoors. Exercising proper storage prolongs the lifespan by reducing exposure to those harmful ultraviolet rays distributed by the sun. Care and maintenance exercises are not isolated to only storage procedures.
Sweat and grime plague hardhats, and, as a result, a proper cleaning regimen counters those issues. Unfortunately, due to its plastic makeup, most chemicals result in adverse effects when attempting to clean hardhat shells and headgear.
A good mixture of degreasing soap like Dawn dish soap and warm water typically serves as the best remedy in cleaning. A 50:50 mixture and some agitation with a rag offer effective results when removing sweat, dirt, grime, and even grease. Workers must remember to allow hardhats an adequate timespan to dry so mildewing can be prevented.
Nick Vaccaro is a freelance writer and photographer. Besides providing technical writing services, he is an HSE consultant in the oil and gas industry with nine years of experience. He also contributes to Louisiana Sportsman Magazine and Masonry Magazine. Nick has a BA in Photojournalism from Loyola University and resides in the New Orleans area. 210-240-7188 Nick@shalemag.com