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Hard Hats Q&A: Answers To The Most Common Hard Hat Questions

CustomHardHats.com is your source for the industry’s toughest hard hats, customized for you and your team. With the most popular styles from leading brands like ERB, Fibre-Metal, and MSA, your crew will get the protection you need. You’ll also look sharp and professional on the jobsite thanks to high-quality custom printing. Unlike stickers or decals that can peel and fade with time, we imprint ink directly onto the hard hat for a professional look that lasts. Find out more about hard hats and get the answers to your questions in the information below.

What Are Hard Hats Made Of?

Most modern hard hats are made from advanced plastics to provide outstanding impact protection. For instance, our most popular hard hat, the MSA V-Gard, is constructed with a high-density polyethylene shell. Many are also made from non-conductive materials to provide protection from electric shock in workshops, factories and construction sites. Hard hats consist of two main components: the protective shell and the adjustable fabric suspension. The suspension inside the hat can be adjusted to fit each individual’s head for ideal comfort and safety.

Do Hard Hats Expire? How Long Do They Last?

Hard hats don’t exactly expire. However, they will wear out over time as the plastic degrades. The date the hard hat was manufactured is printed on the inside of the shell itself. Since they’re a critical, OSHA-mandated part of most worksites, it’s important to replace them regularly. Naturally, a hard hat that becomes warped, dented or cracked should be immediately replaced. Legal Beagle says, “Even if a hat was never worn, if it was manufactured more than four or five years prior, it should be replaced. If the hat is worn in the sun for long hours or in hostile environments with chemicals in high temperatures, it may need to be replaced sooner, perhaps after two years.” 

To ensure your hard hat lasts as long as possible, store it properly away from direct sunlight and extreme temperatures. Conduct a visual inspection of your hard hat regularly.

How Many Pounds Of Force Can A Hard Hat Withstand?

According to workingperson.me, all hard hats must achieve ANSI impact standards for worksite use. To achieve this standard, a hard hat must be able to “withstand an 8 pound ball dropped from a height of 5 feet onto the top of the hard hat. Maximum peak force here would be 1000 pounds.”

What Is The Best Hard Hat?

The best hard hat is one that’s certified by the American National Standards Institute. In order to be OSHA approved for worksite use, hard hats must meet certain impact standards set by the ANSI. 

ANSI Type 1 hard hats provide protection for the top of the head from falling debris. ANSI Type 2 hard hats further provide additional protection from blows to the side, front or back of the helmet. All ANSI-certified hard hats provide the protection you need regardless of manufacturer. As long as the hat you wear is certified, the rest is down to comfort, style and personal preference. All our hard hats at CustomHardHats.com are ANSI Type-1 Certified.

How Do I Make My Hard Hat More Comfortable?

Make sure to adjust the suspension inside the hat to properly fit your head. Different hard hats will feature different suspension systems, so try to find one that works best for you. Or, you can use aftermarket hard hat pads, liners and sweatbands to provide additional cushion and comfort. Some of these pads can even be soaked in cold water to provide relief from hot weather when working outdoors.

Can You Wear A Hat Under A Hard Hat?

A structured hat such as a ballcap should not be worn under a hard hat. However, for additional cushion and warmth, a soft hat such as a hoodie, beanie or a bandana can safely be worn under most hard hats without compromising safety. According to OSHA.gov, “if the use of a garment were to detract from the hard hat's protective properties, it may no longer meet the specification requirements in these ANSI standards.” Since thick, structured hats like baseball hats can adversely affect the way the hard hat fits, they may compromise the protection hard hats should provide. Instead, consider winter liners designed specifically for your model of hard hat. They’ll provide extra cushioning and warmth without affecting fit or protection.

What Does A Green Hard Hat Mean?

Many crews equip their safety officers with green hard hats for easy identification. However, there is no American standard for who wears what color hard hat on a jobsite. White hard hats are often worn by foremen and utility workers; yellow hard hats are typical of construction sites; high-vis orange is commonly used by road work crews for greater visibility. Assigning different color hard hats to different roles on a jobsite can help improve communication and recognition.

What Class Of Hard Hats Protect From Electric Shock?

In addition to ANSI impact standards, hard hats are also graded for electrical performance. ANSI Class C (Conductive) hard hats provide no protection against electric shock. ANSI Class G (General) hard hats protect the head from up to 2,200 volts and are the most common class of hard hat. For workers in high-voltage environments, ANSI Class E (Electrical) hard hats are certified to protect against up to 20,000 volts of current. You’ll find Class C, Class G, and Class E hard hats available from CustomHardHats.com.