Did you know hard hat suspension systems need to be replaced too? All components of head protection gear (hard hat shell and suspension system) should be replaced at the same time. Keep in mind you need a hard hat and suspension of identical sizes and brands. It is necessary to ensure a proper fit and avoid the possibility of voiding the warranty on one or both hard hat components.
A majority of manufacturers say a hard hat may be used for up to five years. This is not a steadfast time frame since every manufacturer is different. When your hard hat begins to show signs of damage it needs to be replaced. Indicators of damage are:
- dull color
- chalky appearance
- exposure to the sun needs to be replaced more frequently
Most manufacturers say a hard hat suspension system should be replaced every year unless they show signs of deterioration. This is not a steadfast time frame since every manufacturer is different. A system needs to be replaced when it:
- loss of pliability
- frayed or cut straps
- does not fit properly inside the hard hat
- impacted from an object
Keep in mind there is not a hard hat or suspension system that does not need to be replaced. Every hard hat component will need to be replaced since protective properties degrade over time due to normal wear and tear. Those people who work in extreme work environments will need to replace their hard hat components more often.
Another point to remember is to inspect your hard hat and suspension system before each use. Carefully inspect your hard hat components for signs of dents, cracks, penetration, and any other signs of damage. Inspecting a hard hat every time it is worn is taking another proactive measure to ensure his or her safety.
I go off the rule of replacing my hat every 6 months. Typically my hat suffer a few falls from my head at height. Several small impacts of bumping into equipment.
In the event of a major impact I replace it. I wish I could say that I haven’t had a few. I have seen hard hats save lives and have no problem replacing them if there is a possibility of degradation.
Your comment to this post makes a valid point of being safe. It is definitely a good idea to replace your hard hat after an impact and protect your head from injuries. Safety is always the first matter of concern.