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Grabbing their hard hat and wearing it while behind the wheel is second nature for many forklift operators. But how much do they really know about these common types of wearable safety equipment?
Hard Hat Facts
Here are ten little-known facts about hard hats that most forklift operators probably weren’t aware existed:
10. While many businesses allow workers to put stickers on their hard hats, stickers should never be used to cover up hard hat damage or wear. Pressure-sensitive, non-metallic stickers are generally safe to use on most hard hats, but they don’t provide any protection from impacts. They also should not obstruct any air holes or the employee’s vision in any way.
9. It’s not a good idea to wear any type of baseball cap, skull-cap, bandana, hood or welder’s cap under a hard hat if it contains metal parts or rivets because these could interfere with the pressure points built into the hard hats suspension that is designed to disperse the blow of any impact evenly, reducing the force of impact absorbed by the head.
8. After any type of serious impact, most hard hats should be disposed of immediately, even if they don’t exhibit any damage. Internal damage that can’t be seen visibly can compromise the integrity of the hat’s ability to protect against future impacts.
7. Most hard hats are required to have permanent labels or markings that include the manufacturer’s name, its date of manufacture, and its ANSI type, class, and head size.
6. Hard hats can be easily cleaned with mild soap and warm water. Tree sap, tar, and other materials sticky materials should not be removed with abrasives or solvents because these could weaken the hard hat’s shell or suspension.
5. It is not advisable to store objects such as paperwork, cigarette packages or other items between the suspension and shell of the hard hat because they could alter the hard hat’s protection capabilities.
Hard Hat Handling
4. Hard hats should be inspected before every shift for damage. Even the smallest crack or fissure could affect its ability to protect its wearer in the event of an impact.
3. For maximum protection, hard hats should fit snugly on the head. The wearer should use the adjustable suspension to get the best fit.
2. The exterior shell of hard hats should never be altered, punctured, engraved, or modified in any way.
- Prolonged exposure to sunlight can degrade many hard hats’ plastic shells, so hard hats should be stored out of direct sunlight when not in use.