Useful Lifetime of Hard Hats

The following information covers the useful lifetime and general information about hard hats taken from the following sources: E.D. Bullard Company, 1-800-827-0423 and ANSI 289.1(1986) Appendix B.

  1. In general the useful life of a hard hat depends on the user's environment. It is recommended that hats worn in harsh environments be replaced every two years. A general guideline used by many large corporations is to replace hats every five years.
  3. Users should establish a regular inspection and maintenance program for their hats to evaluate the status of the shell and the suspension.
  5. The shell should be inspected for dents. cracks, nicks, gouges and any damage due to impact, penetration, abrasions, rough treatment or wear that might reduce the degree of protection originally provided. Hats showing signs of damage or wear should be serviced or replaced immediately.
  7. Hard hat shells are susceptible to UV light damage, temperature extremes and chemical degradation. Signs of degradation include: stiff or brittle shells, or a faded, dull or chalky appearing shell. Shells exhibiting these characteristics should be immediately replaced.
  8. A recommended test for degradation is to compress the shell inward from both sides about one inch and then release the pressure without dropping the shell. It should return to its original shape quickly. A comparison can be made by testing a new shell. If the elasticity is not similar to a new shell, it should be replaced.

  9. The suspension should be inspected for cracks, grayed or cut crown straps, torn headband or size adjustment slots, loss of pliability or other signs of wear. Suspensions exhibiting these characteristics should be removed from service and replaced immediately.
  11. Important points to remember:
    • Hard hats struck by a blow should be replaced.
    • Hard hats are designed to protect impacts from above, not from the side or rear.
    • Never modify the shell or suspension of a hard hat.
    • Avoid contact of the hard hat with electrical devices.
    • Do not store hard hats in direct sunlight.
    • Do not sit on hard hats.
    • Do not wear anything inside the hat that would affect the clearance between the shell and head.
    • Do not paint hard hats.