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Understanding Your Hard Hat Expiration Date

Manufactured Date

Knowing how to read the molded/manufactured date of your hard hat will help you remember the expected service life of your hat. The centered number denotes the year the hard hat was made, and the arrow pointing to a number between 1–12 signifies the month. In the image below, the number in the center reads 13 and the arrow points to 12. This indicates the hard hat was manufactured in December of 2013.

How to read hard hat expiration dates

Hard Hat Expiration Date

All hard hats are made with high quality, durable materials to protect laborers, but they will not last forever. Hard hats are subject to working environment, sunlight exposure, extreme temperatures, and general wear and tear that can degrade the protective properties of the device over time. As a general guide, hard hats that have not received any damage during service should be replaced every 3–5 years. The service life of your hard hat starts the day you receive the equipment.

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About MSA V-Gard® Standard Hard Hats

MSA V-Gard Standard Staz-on Suspension MPN: 463942
MSA V-Gard Fast-Track Ratchet MPN: 475358

MSA Safety is a worldwide leader in personal protective equipment, and MSA hard hats are designed to keep laborers safe in some of the most dangerous working conditions.

The MSA V-Gard hard hat includes the following features:

  • A high-density polyethylene shell that protects laborers from life-threatening impacts to the head. 
  • MSA V-Gard® Caps meet or exceed the applicable requirements for a Type I Helmet (top impact) as outlined in ANSI Z89.1 2014, Class E.
  • Lightweight construction that makes the helmet comfortable to wear while still providing additional lateral protection. 
  • Self-adjusting crown straps that ensure a comfortable fit.
  • This hard hat comes with your choice of the 4-point ratchet suspension or the 4-point slide lock suspension.
  • Size ranging from 6 1/2 - 8”.

V-Gard® Caps and Hats are not specifically designed to protect against lateral blows from the front, side or rear.

Helpful Resrouces

Looking for more information before you buy hard hats? We've got you covered with some helpful buying guides and hard hat comparisons. Check them out below.

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Staz-On Suspension & Fas-Trac Ratchet Suspension

You can choose to have either a Staz-On Suspension or a Fas-Trac Ratchet Suspension for your hard hat.

Staz-On Suspension Fas-Trac Ratchet Suspension
MSA Staz-On Suspension | MSA Fas-Trac Ratchet Suspension |


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How to Order Hard Hats

  • Step 1: Select the quantity of hard hats
  • Step 2:Choose your options
    • Staz-On or Fas-Trac Ratchet Suspension
    • Front Logo
    • Back Logo
    • Right Logo
    • Left Logo
  • Step 3: Click on the "Upload Logos" button
    • Select the logo files
    • In the "Provide Instructions" area, please let us know which logo goes in which location
  • Step 4: Click on the "Add to Cart" button

You will then be taken through the checkout process. You will need to verify that all of the quantities, product options, and additional information is correct. You will then enter your billing and shipping information. You can select to pay with a credit card or check. 

We offer the following shipping options:

  • Standard (3-5 Business Days)
  • Three Day (3 Business Days)
  • Two Day (2 Business Days)
  • Overnight (1 Business Day)

Once we receive your order, we will put together a proof and email it to you. The proof will have all of your order information on it. You will need to approve the order before we will charge you and put the order into production. 

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Hard Hat Artwork Requirements

All hard hats require a vectorized logo for printing. 

Acceptable Adobe Illustrator Files

  • .eps

Vector Logos

All hard hats require a vectorized logo for printing. Vector art consists of lines and curves that are mathematically defined objects. When viewing art in keyline mode you can see the points or vectors connecting your lines and curves. They can also be seen when using the pen tool or editing the points along a path. Vector art is ideal for type and drawn shapes because they can be enlarged to any size while maintaining crisp outlines and details without sacrificing quality. The distance between the vectors is calculated mathematically and is not dependent upon resolution.

Logo Conversion Fees

If you do not have an acceptable file, we offer a vectorization service to recreate most logos for $35. You will receive a copy of the logo file once it is completed. Payment must be received prior to us recreating your logo in a vector format.


Convert all text to outlines. If this is not possible, please provide all fonts. TrueType fonts are preferred.

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Add Your Logo or Name to the Hard Hat!

You can add up to four logos in four different locations on your hard hat. Each logo can have up to four different colors. You can also have a name printed on the hard hat. All logos are printed as large as possible on the hat, unless otherwise specified. 

Logo Locations

  • Front of the Hat
  • Back of the Hat
  • Right Side of the Hat
  • Left Side of the Hat

Logo Imprint Colors

  • No Logo
  • 1-2 color logo
  • 3 color logo
  • 4 color logo
  • Name

Logo Sizes (in inches)

V-Gard® Standard Font Logo Back Logo Right Side Logo Left Side Logo
1 & 2 Color Logos 2.875x2 2.875x2 2.875x1.5 2.875x1.5
3 & 4 Color Logos 2.5x2 2.5x2 2.5x1.5 2.5x1.5

You can also get a blank hard hat when you select the "No Logo" option from the drop down menu.

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Hard Hat Production Times

The standard production time for hard hats is 12 business days.

Please contact a customer service representative for the most accurate production estimate.

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PMS Color Options

We offer 14 different standard color options for your logo imprint, as follows: Yellow, Yellow Orange, Pink, Medium Blue, Reflex Blue, Dark Green, Light Gray, White, Orange, Red, Light Blue, Dark Blue, Green, Brown, Dark Gray, and Black. Please refer to our chart below for specifications on each color option.


Standard PMS Color Swatches | Custom Hard Hats

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More Information on Hard Hat Lifespan & When To Replace Hard Hats

Hard Hat Lifespan

Hard hats are made with durable materials to keep laborers safe, but no device will last forever. Hard hats will degrade over time when they are exposed to sunlight, extreme temperatures, and general wear and tear that can weaken the protective properties of the device.

There is no specific service life set in stone that specifies how long a hard hat is good for, but most manufacturers recommend replacing a helmet every 3 – 5 years if it has not been damaged during service. It’s important to note that MSA hard hats may degrade differently than Fibre-Metal hard hats for example, and you may need to replace your hard hat sooner if it has been damaged. The lifespan of your hard hat starts the day you receive the equipment, not the manufacture date inscribed within the helmet.

Do Hard Hats Expire?

All hard hats have a limited service life. It’s recommended to replace safety helmets every 3 – 5 years. Hard hats that are used heavily may need to be replaced sooner. The protective materials will eventually degrade to a point where they’re no longer effective and they won’t provide the necessary protection against injuries to the head.

OSHA Requirements – Section 1926.100

As a general note, OSHA requires all laborers to wear protective helmets when working in areas where there is a possibility of head injury from falling objects, collisions, or electrical shock and burns. 

Additionally, OSHA hard hat expiration date requirements are not available. These requirements are generally set by the hard hat manufacturers and there are no OSHA hard hat lifespan guidelines.

When To Replace Hard Hats

When it comes to hard hat safety and expected lifespan, there are several key factors to evaluate that will help you determine when it's time to replace your hard hat. The information below walks you through the four most common reasons to upgrade to a new hard hat. 

1. Impacts to Hard Hats

Hard hats are not intended to withstand multiple blows. Once a helmet has sustained an impact, it should be disposed of and replaced immediately. This is true even if there is no visible damage to the outer shell.

After an impact to the helmet, the protective materials may be weakened, and they may not provide the intended impact resistance required to keep workers safe.

2. Cuts, Cracks, and Dents

Hard hats are designed to absorb or deflect the blow of a falling object and evenly distribute the effect throughout the helmet. Any cuts, cracks or dents can compromise the structural integrity of the helmet and hinder its ability to properly disseminate the impact. 

Examine your hard hat daily - or before each use - to determine if there are any signs of wear and tear that might compromise the hat. If you discover cracks or scrapes, the hard hat should be replaced immediately to ensure your safety. 

3. Extreme Heat and Direct Sunlight

Extreme heat can deteriorate the protective qualities of a hard hat, shortening its useful lifespan. Leaving hard hats in areas with extreme temperatures, such as inside a vehicle, can degrade the protective shell of a hard hat. 

Prolonged exposure to sunlight can also weaken the protective qualities in a helmet, workers who wear hard hats in hot weather may need to replace their device more frequently due to the extended exposure. 

It's also recommended to store hard hats inside a climate-controlled room away from sunlight.

Final Thoughts

Your safety helmet is one of the most important pieces of protective gear you’ll wear on any job site. Please remember to perform an inspection of your hard hat before each use to ensure that none of the warning signs listed are present. If your helmet shows signs of cuts, cracks, dents, discoloration, chackiness, or has been exposed to extreme heat, direct sunlight, or impacts, we recommend replacing the device.