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Do hard hats expire?

Q:

Do hard hats expire? When should I replace mine?

A:

This can be a bit confusing because OSHA doesn't specify a set expiry date for hard hats. But that doesn't mean you can use them indefinitely. If you want to ensure your head or your workers' heads are protected, you will need to replace hard hats after a certain period of time.

One good rule of thumb is to replace hard hats at least every five years. However, if your work regularly exposes you to chemicals, high temperatures, and sunlight, you should replace your hard hat every two years.

You should also look for signs that indicate it will no longer give you the level of protection you need. If the hard hat is fading, chalky, or brittle, cease using it and replace it with a newer one. Hard hats that are dented, cut, deeply scuffed, or have been subjected to serious impact are also due for replacement.

The suspension inside the hard hat can also wear out before the hat itself does. Many manufacturers recommend replacing it every twelve months.

If you want to extend the life of your hard hat, make sure you store it properly. If you simply leave it in your truck whenever you're not using it, it may deteriorate due to prolonged exposure to the sun's rays (to learn more about hard hats, see Hard Hat Requirements You Need to Know).

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Written by Jamie Young
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I believe that everybody has the right to get home safely to their families. Anything I can do to help promote and achieve a safe working environment, I will do.


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