10 Tips for Using a Hard Hat Correctly

A hard hat is a construction worker’s best friend. Don’t take that friend for granted.

Hard hats don’t work when they’re not on your head. But there’s more to using them right than just wearing them. Here are 10 hard hat do’s and don’ts.

Do’s

Make sure it’s the right type and class. Hard hats come in different types and classes. Make sure you’re using the best type and class for your job

Chose a hardhat that is compatible with accessories. Some hardhats come with slots for other PPE, such as safety googles or face protection. Choose accessories that do not interfere with the fit of the hard hat.

Make sure it fits correctly. Adjust the sliding band along with the pin locks, ratchets and/or tab locks so the hard hat is snug but not so tight that it causes discomfort or irritation.

Perform a daily inspection. Check for dents, cracks and holes and a chalky-looking shell, which indicates damage from UV radiation. Make sure the suspension inside the hat is in good condition as well. If the hard hat is worn out or damaged, it’s time for a new one.

Throw it away if it experiences any impact. Even a hit that seems relatively minor can affect the integrity of the shell and the suspension.

Don’ts

Don't wear it backwards. Hard hats can’t offer adequate protection if worn incorrectly.  They are not designed to be worn backwards. The exception is if the hat displays a reverse donning symbol, which means there is no front or back and the hat can be worn either way.

Don't wear a hat or cap of any kind underneath. There are winter and summer liners made specifically for use with hard hats. If it fits smooth to the head, a hooded sweatshirt is also acceptable to wear under a hard hat.

Don't apply stickers or paint the shell unless the manual says it’s okay. If the manufacturer makes no such allowances, employers must be ready to prove marking or stickers will not affect the integrity of the shell.

Don’t use it to store things. Tempted to slip a money clip, cell phone or keys under there? If an impact were to occur, you’d regret it.

Don’t leave it in the sunlight. That includes keeping it in a car that’s parked outside. Over time, sun can damage the shell and make it brittle.