Hard Hat Expiration Date Myth??!!
We are asked it all the time. What is the expiration of this hat? There is no hard and fast rule for a hard hat expiration date. There are many things to consider. There is also a lot of BAD information out there regarding this subject, many misinformed people have decided they are experts when in fact they are not.
ANSI & OSHA have some guidelines about hard hats. One is the hat must be dated with the date of manufacture - that is NOT the expiration date. Don’t let anyone fool you and tell you it is, it’s not. It’s the date it was made, no hard hat manufactured in the United States has been stamped with an expiration date.
Also, each manufacturer must give some info on how to properly use the hard hat so it meets ANSI standards. This is done either on the manufacturer website, or on the bag the hat comes in.
Finally ALL hats must state which ANSI regs they meet. What you will usually see is ANSI Z89.1-2003 Type C, G & E (although there were no revisions from the 1997 so that is fine too).
So, back to the EXPIRATION DATE thing. Does a hard hat expire? When? How do I know?
Yes, it can “expire” but that depends a lot on you, your hat type and brand! ….. Awww, see I didn’t tell you a specific date did I? No, because there isn’t one! Some hats can be used for years if cared for and stored properly.
Hard hats need to be cared for. Suspensions replaced when they are worn down, hats checked for cracks, breakdowns, gouges.
Store your hat where it is not exposed to direct sunlight or high temperatures. Do not store a hard hat in the back window of your car or in your trunk (for long periods that is).
If your hat has had an impact replace it. Immediately. I don’t mean if you dropped it. If you have been hit in the head while wearing it, replace it, now.
If areas that should be shiney are now dull, if the plastic becomes brittle - replace it. This happens with use, and people who use hats in high temps, should replace more often. Do not drill on your hat. Do not paint it. Do not use chemicals on it. Wash only with mild soap and water.
Replacement has more to do with when a hat was put into use, how, and where it was used, not when it was manufactured. Most companies have a hard hat plan in place, ask your company what yours is. Some replace after two years of service, others 5 years of service. Many outdoor workers replace after one year. Casual users who store their hat in cooler places can use a hat for many years.
Please do check your suspension as well. If it is worn replace it. It’s your head. Keep it safe.