Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Inspect Hard Hats Daily!

Reprinted from Lab Safety Supply Saf-T News 8-5-09.

We make the same recommendation on a daily basis with our Loss Prevention Consultants working with construction companies - this also is a good time to discuss using a Helmet Safety Kit.

Inspect hard hats daily.

One of the most common yet sometimes overlooked pieces of safety equipment is the hard hat. Many workers put them on to start their workdays and don't give much thought to their condition or how the working conditions may affect their performance. Like any other piece of safety equipment, what a hard hat is subjected to during use and how it is cared for when not in use has an impact on how effective that hard hat will be in the long run.

Hard hats consist of a shell and a suspension that require inspection during assembly and before each use.

A shell inspection should focus on looking for cracks, nicks, dents, gouges and any damage caused by impact, penetration, abrasion or rough treatment. Polycarbonate or polyethylene shells should also be inspected for stiffness, brittleness, fading, dullness of color or a chalky appearance that may be due to extreme environmental conditions or regular ultraviolet (UV) radiation exposure. Shells that exhibit any of these signs or are otherwise damaged should not be used.

The hard hat's suspension, designed to absorb the shock of a blow, should be carefully inspected for cracks or tears, frayed or cut straps, loss of pliability or other signs of wear. All points must fit securely into their respective slots. Any damaged suspensions should be removed and replaced. Never use a suspension that is not intended for use with a particular shell or one made by another manufacturer because shells and suspensions are tested together for compliance.
One common misconception is that hard hats have a predetermined OSHA or ANSI service life; this is not the case. The ANSI Z89.1 standard addresses service life under maintenance and care of the hard hat. The standards state that all hard hat components should be inspected daily for signs of dents, cracks, penetration and any damage due to impact, rough treatment or wear. Although it is not considered a "shelf life," many manufacturers, including MSA and Bullard, publish general replacement guidelines.

These guidelines are based on general industry practices and suggest replacing the suspension every 12 months and the hard hat after five years of use. Any hard hat that fails the visual inspection should not be used until the problem is corrected.

View the LSS EZ Facts® document "Hard Hat Requirements" for more information on the hard hat regulations and standards.

Proposed Revisions ANSI Z89.1-2009
ANSI published a revision in January of 2009. The significant changes from the 2003 version are three non-mandatory tests and are easy to understand. Each of these tests if elected to be tested by the manufacturer will display three new markings on the helmet.

The three optional test criteria are:

Reverse Donning: Helmets marked with a "reverse donning arrow" can be worn frontward or backward in accordance with the manufacturer's wearing instructions. They pass all testing requirements, whether worn frontward or backward.

Lower Temperature: Helmets marked with a "LT" indicates that the hard hat meets all testing requirements of the standard when preconditioned at a temperature of -30°C (-22°F).

High Visibility: Helmets marked with a "HV" indicates that the hard hat meets all testing requirements of the standard for high visibility colors. This includes tests for chromaticity and luminescence.

1 comment:

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