Personal Protective Equipment - Head Protection (Hard Hats)

The average safety hard hat weights about 14 ounces. The average man’s head weighs 14 pounds. So, there’s an ounce of safety for every pound of head—provided the head protection is properly worn and maintained.

The brain is the control center of the body. The slightest damage to any part of the brain will cause malfunction of some area of the body. The skull, under normal circumstances, protects the brain. But when a possibility of injury from falling or flying objects exists, additional protection is required.

Proper Fit of a Hard Hat:Hard Hat

  • The suspension system should fit snuggly around your head and leave a 1-1.25 inch “safety zone” between your head and the shell of the hat.
  • For employees working at altitude, above other workers, a chinstrap must be provided.

Identifying Signs of Wear:

  • Cracked, torn, or frayed suspension system.
  • Cracked, perforated, or deformed brim or shell.
  • Flaking, chalking or loss of surface gloss.


  • CLEAN your hard hat as needed, using a mild soap and water solution or other solution recommended by the manufacturer.
  • STORE your hard hat as recommended by the manufacturer, which means keeping it out of the direct sun (like on the back dash of your car) and out of areas with high heat (like in the car truck) while you’re off the job.
  • INSPECT your hard hat shell and suspension for damage and deterioration every day before use, as well as after any event that may affect its integrity (such as being struck by a falling object or crushed).
  • REPLACE your hard hat shell or suspension when it shows any signs of damage or deterioration.


  • PAINT your hard hat. Hard hat manufacturers typically forbit using paints because they can degrade the strength of the hard hat shell, making it easier to break.
  • USE SOLVENTS to clean your hard hat. Just like with paints, solvents can also degrade the strength of the hard hat shell.
  • ALTER OR MODIFY your hard hat. Drilling holes and/or inserting screws in your hard hat so you can add attachments (or for any other reason) can weaken the shell of your hard hat, and can also allow electrical current to pass through.
  • WEAR YOU HARD HAT BACKWARDS unless specifically approved by the hard hat manufacturer and your employer.
  • WEAR A BALL CAP OR HAT BENEATH YOUR HARD HAT. Doing so could interfere with the suspension and shell, which work together to reduce the force of an impact. Cold weather liners approved by the hard hat manufacturer are available.