Q: There is a date code on the inside of my hard hat - what does this mean? A: The date code stamped inside the hard hat refers to the date of manufacture. This is NOT an expiration date. Q: What is the service life of my hard hat? Is there an expiration date? A: Hard hats are designed with high quality, wear-resistant materials; however, these materials WILL NOT last forever. The protective properties of the hard hat will degrade over time due to common workplace environments such as temperatures, chemicals, and even sunlight. It is suggested that the entire hard hat be replaced every 5 years. OSHA regulations state that the life of the hard hat begins when the distributor sells to the end user. Example: A hard hat was manufactured in 2015 and was sold in 2016 to a customer meaning the expiration date would be 2021 regardless of the fact that it was manufactured in 2015. Q: What is the service life of my suspension? A: Suspensions should be inspected before each use. Suspensions should be replaced every 12 months even if there is no visible damage. Q: How can I test my hard hat to ensure my safety? A: You can test your hard hat by doing a Crackle "Pop" Test. To perform this test you need to hold the hat upside down and squeeze the two sides together. If you hear a cracking sound then it is time to replace the entire hard hat to prevent impact injuries. Q: What should I look for when inspecting my hard hat? A: The shell and suspension should be inspected before each use. Look for dents, cracks, cuts or gauges in the shell. Check the suspension for frayed straps, cracks, or tears in plastic parts. Q: Do I need to replace my hard hat if it sustains an impact? A: Yes. If the hard hat has sustained an impact, dispose of immediately, even if the damage is not visible. Once the hard hat has been impacted the materials weaken and are compromised. Q: How should I clean my hard hat? A: For the best results, disassemble the helmet and use mild soap and warm water to remove dirt residue. Rinse the helmet completely after using any cleaning agent. Q: What Industry Standard or Approval do hard hats need? A: This can vary globally, because there are various standards in place. In North America the current standards are the ANSI Standard for Head Protection: Z89.1 and the CSA Industrial Protection Headwear: Z94.1. These 2 standards share the type and class descriptors which makes it easier to ensure the right hard hats are being selected for the application. Permanent labels or markings are required on hard hats by both ANSI and CSA standards.
- Type 1: ANSI helmets are intended to reduce the force of impact from a blow only to the top of the head. CSA headwear provides impact and penetration protection for the crown only.
- Type 2: ANSI helmets are intended to reduce the force of impact resulting from a blow to the top or sides of the head. CSA headwear provides impact and penetration protection for the crown and laterally.
- Class C: ANSI helmets are not intended to provide protection against contact with electrical hazards (conductive). CSA headwear does not provide dielectric protection.
- Class G: ANSI helmets are intended to reduce the danger of contact with low-voltage conductors (proof tested at 2,200 volts). CSA headwear is non-conducting and is required to pass the dielectric strength test of 2,200 volts for 1 minute.
- Class E: ANSI helmets intended to reduce the danger of contact with higher voltage conductors (proof-tested at 20,000 volts). CSA headwear is non-conducting and is required to pass the dielectric strength test of 20,000 volts for 3 minutes.