A question for those employed in the construction industry: Did your employer provide you with a hard hat, or did you purchase it yourself? As of May 15, 2008, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration requires that employers provide personal protective equipment at no cost to the worker. While this rule is a good thing when it comes to who is responsible for providing protective gear, it brings a couple of safety issues to the forefront.
What is a hard hat? It is a hard, helmet-like hat used to protect a worker’s head from small falling objects, bumps to the head and in some cases, mild electrical shocks. Inside the shell is a suspension system designed to absorb impacts.
If an employer gives you a used hard hat, there are a few things you should consider. First, how old is the hat? According to the Laborer’s Health & Safety Fund of North America, hard hats should be should be replaced every two years. The suspension system inside of a hard hat should be replaced every 12 months.
Another question to consider is has the used hard hat already been involved in one or more construction workers’ accidents? If so, the hat should not be used as damage to the suspension system might have occurred. Safety organizations recommend replacing hard hats after they have been involved in any impact accident.
Absent or improper care and maintenance of a hard hat can lead to injuries should construction workers’ accidents occur. Make sure you and your employer know the history of your personal protective gear before you agree to use it. If you do suffer injuries and you believe it is because of improper head gear, we can help you seek workers’ compensation benefits. Take a look at the information on our website for assistance.