When Should Hard Hats Be Replaced?

Hard Hats End Dates

Work environments where the potential risk of head injury is higher require hard hats. So that workers can protect themselves against falling or moving objects.

From construction to electrical repair, workers need the protection that only functioning safety hard hats can provide. Since a hard hat is a personal protective equipment (PPE) worn daily, you may be wondering when you should replace your old hard hat.

Hard hats are made of high-density polyethylene which is wear-resistant and durable material. Still, it is a material that breaks down.

Exposure to harsh work environments [such as chemicals and temperature extremes] and daily wear and tear, degrade the protective properties of hard hats.

It is a common practice of workers from some states to replace their safety hats after 6 months of use due to harsh weather conditions.

Inspect your hard hat daily

A hard hat can be the only protective item standing between a worker and serious injury. But these safety equipment items are not indestructible. They wear over time and succumb to damage from an impact or weather.

So, inspect your safety hard hats daily and look for the following signs:

  • Cracks, dents, tears or holes in the shell
  • Cracks in the suspension system
  • Frayed suspension straps
  • Brittleness of the shell

Whenever you see these signs, replace your hat or the affected part immediately. Hard hats are used by a broad range of industries.

There is no standard criteria on when hard hats should be replaced. The wearer must check the hat and determine, based on its condition, whether it can provide a enough level of safety any longer.

Safety hard hats wear quickly in environments where employees are exposed to intense conditions. Such as sunlight and water pressure, or construction sites where there are falling objects, dust, and grime. The heat dries out the hat causing it to crack.

These hats should be replaced more often than ones worn by workers who perform their duties indoor in clean conditions. In some cases, safety hats are rated based on their ability to withstand volts of electrical charge. When damaged or cracked, hard hats can’t withstand as much charge.

How to determine hard hats end date

ANSI ( American National Standards Institute ) and OSHA ( Occupational Safety and Health Administration) suggest to check the manufacturer’s instructions to determine the service life of your safety hats.

It is usually recommended that you replace hard hats  after 4 to 5 years of use, regardless of their appearance.

ANSI requires manufacturers print information such as the manufacture date inside the hard hat. The longest a hard hat should be in service is 4 to 5 years from the date of manufacture. But, it is only applicable when your hat is not damaged.

Moreover, if you work long hours in the sun or hostile environment, you may need to replace the hat after 2 years of use, or before.

Why it is necessary to replace old or damaged hats

As a worker, the expiration date on your hard hat serves as a safeguard. It is recommended to replace your hard hat before it reaches its expiration date. Some manufacturers recommend that suspension inside the hat must be replaced every 12 months.

Whether you use cap style hard hats or full brim hard hats, replace them when they become soft and weak without waiting for the expiration date.

Conclusion

The service life of personal protective equipment like hard hats is specific to the environment, job, and maintenance task. It is advisable that you replace hard hat suspension every two years.

Keep a record of buying date so that you can replace your head protection on time. Visually inspect the suspension, shell, and headband of the hard hat.

Don’t ignore dents, cracks or wear as it can seriously reduce the ability of a hat to provide sufficient protection.

Keep your personal protective equipment in top condition.

Eyewash Station Infection Risks

Eyewash Station Infection Risks

Health Effects from Contaminated Water in Eyewash Stations

Eyewash Station Risks for Infection

Eyewash stations are used in workplace environments where potential irritants could lead to eye injuries. By law, research laboratories, production facilities, and medical environments are required to have eyewash stations in place. While designed to keep workers safe, they could pose serious health risks if maintained improperly.

Contaminated Eyewash Stations

Pseudomonas
Pseudomonas. Photo Credit: CDC

According to OSHA, eyewash stations that aren’t being regularly maintained could contain potentially dangerous organisms. This puts employees at risk for developing eye and full body infections.

Pseudomonas, for instance, is a deadly bacteria species known for causing serious health complications. An infection that begins in the eye could spread through an individual’s bloodstream to the other tissue, including the skin and lungs. This is just one type of harmful substance which could be lurking in your eyewash station.

Can You Prevent Eyewash Contamination?

First, it’s important to identify the type of eyewash system your company uses. Plumbed eyewash stations feature plumbing components like spouts. They should be activated each week to ensure proper working order. And to clear away any buildup that could accumulate over time.

There are also eyewash solutions that don’t require any plumbing. Called self-contained eyewash stations, these systems can provide a stream of eyewash to the user for 15 minutes, as mandated by OSHA. They can also be installed quickly and easily in a convenient location. There are also durable self-contained stations. These are ideal in a wide variety of settings, including remote plant areas and construction sites.

Pureflow 1000 Replacement Cartridges
Pureflow 1000 Replacement Cartridges

To ensure compliance, self-contained eyewash stations should be serviced according to manufacturer instructions. One of the most important factors to remember is that the saline solution they contain does have an expiration date.

Some have 24-month shelf lives. Others can be stored safely for up to 36 months. The expiration date will vary from one type of solution to the next.

A final way to provide employees with eye solution is to simply have a small emergency eyewash wall station in place. Many low-risk environments  don’t fall under OSHA’s requirement of a steady stream of 1.5 liters per minute available for 15 minutes.  These facilities will use a wall station with 16 oz or 32 oz bottles  of eyewash.   Others may just have eyewash included with their first aid supplies. These too must be changed regularly to provide employees with access to fresh, contaminant-free eyewash.

Tips for Safe Eyewash Practices

Eyewash should generally be stored at a temperature between 60 and 100 degrees. Different solutions may have more specific storage requirements. To effectively clean or service the station, be sure to follow the manufacturers’ instructions.

It’s important to use only solutions appropriate for eye flushing in your stations. Avoid risk of serious injury by using the proper solution.

Eyesaline Eyewash
Eyesaline Eyewash

If you have a need for eyewash stations or refill cartridges/bottles, Harmony Business Supplies can help. Take a look at our selection of eyewash equipment on our website. Or contact a product specialist for assistance.

The 5 OSHA Workplace Hazards

Under the right circumstances, virtually anything could become hazardous in the workplace. With sensible employee behavior and workplace conditions, however, the workplace hazards that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) warn against fall into just five main categories. We’ll review them below, and provide suggestions for mitigating dangers for each.

#1: Safety Hazards

(slips, trips and falls, faulty
equipment, etc.)

Safety risks refer to the conditions or substances found in the work environment which can pose danger of injuries. From falling objects to wet floors, these seemingly innocuous everyday risks have the potential to cause serious bodily harm. To minimize these hazards, there are a few things you can do:

  1. Never leave machinery unattended while in use
  2. Practice safety while working from heights
  3. Mandate the use of safety gear and safety apparel, like hardhats, and safety glasses
  4. Have your electrical wiring inspected regularly
  5. Provide the proper signage (like wet floor signs) to notify employees of spills, and clean them up promptly

Safety Hazards include:

  • Spills on floors or tripping hazards,
    such as blocked aisles or cords
    running across the floor
  • Working from heights, including
    ladders, scaffolds, roofs, or any
    raised work area
  • Unguarded machinery and moving
    machinery parts; guards removed or
    moving parts that a worker can
    accidentally touch
  • Electrical hazards like frayed cords,
    missing ground pins, improper
    wiring
  • Confined spaces
  • Machinery-related hazards
    (lockout/tagout, boiler safety,
    forklifts, etc.)

#2: Biological Hazards

(mold, insects/pests,
communicable diseases, etc.)

These types of hazards tend to be exclusive to specific work environments. Particularly, anyone who works with infectious plants, people, or animals may be regularly exposed to biological hazards. Examples of occupations could include laboratory workers, daycare assistants, and personnel in hospitals, doctor’s offices, or nursing homes.

Coming into contact with substances like blood and other bodily fluids, animal droppings, bacteria and viruses, or fungi can put an individual at risk of becoming ill. To minimize these risks, it’s essential that you establish a protocol for handling biohazards and potentially infectious material. Additionally, make sure necessary supplies like disposable gloves are easily accessible. Sorbents can be used to clean up bio-hazards.  These powerful granules absorb the liquid, making them easy to clean-up.

Types of things you may be exposed to
include:

  • Blood and other body fluids
  • Fungi/mold
  • Bacteria and viruses
  • Plants
  • Insect bites
  • Animal and bird droppings

#3: Physical Hazards

(noise, temperature extremes,
radiation, etc.)

Physical hazards are environmental factors which can cause injury without direct contact. For instance, radiation, temperature extremes, consistent loudness, and prolonged exposure to sunlight or ultraviolet rays all fall into this category. These are commonly considered the most difficult to detect, because signs don’t always present themselves right away.Like the other hazards listed here, reducing your employees’ risk of being exposed to physical hazards comes down to providing protection.

Hearing protection, for instance, should be considered mandatory for any individuals working around loud machinery. In settings where MEFs and microwaves are routinely emitted, employers must develop practices their teams can follow to limit exposure.

Physical Hazards include:

  • Radiation: including ionizing, nonionizing
    (EMF’s, microwaves,
    radiowaves, etc.)
  • High exposure to sunlight/ultraviolet
    rays
  • Temperature extremes – hot and cold
  • Constant loud noise

#4: Ergonomic Hazards

(repetition, lifting, awkward
postures, etc.)

Like physical hazards, ergonomic hazards may develop over time. Back strain and similar musculoskeletal disorders are often attributed to repetitive workplace motions. Even individuals who work desk jobs aren’t immune to suffering from back pain.

To combat ergonomic hazards, employers can offer training from specialists to help employees understand the importance of proper lifting techniques and posture. More and more employers are also exploring standing desk options to prevent associates from experiencing health complications associated with prolonged sitting.

Ergonomic Hazards include:

  • Improperly adjusted workstations and
    chairs
  • Frequent lifting
  • Poor posture
  • Awkward movements, especially if
    they are repetitive
  • Repeating the same movements over
    and over
  • Having to use too much force,
    especially if you have to do it
    frequently
  • Vibration

#5: Chemical/Dust Hazards

(cleaning products, pesticides,
asbestos, etc.)

Some chemicals are naturally more potent than others. While certain types are only dangerous when ingested or a person comes into direct contact with them, others are dangerous when simply inhaled. If your workforce uses chemicals regularly, you can keep employees safe by:

  1. Clearly labeling all chemicals
  2. Developing a protocol for handling chemicals
  3. Providing employees with the proper safety gear (respirators and gloves, for instance) to wear while in the presence of chemicals

Beware of:

  • Liquids like cleaning products, paints,
    acids, solvents – ESPECIALLY if
    chemicals are in an unlabeled
    container!
  • Vapors and fumes that come from
    welding or exposure to solvents
  • Gases like acetylene, propane, carbon
    monoxide and helium
  • Flammable materials like gasoline,
    solvents, and explosive chemicals.
  • Pesticides

 

No matter which types of hazards your workplace has, Harmony Business Supplies has all of the safety gear and products your team needs to stay healthy and injury-free. Browse through their supplies online now, or contact a product specialist to learn more.