As far as your personal protective equipment goes, head protection is arguably one of the most important pieces that you wear – so it’s essential that you take care of it. Properly maintaining your safety helmet helps to ensure it’s working at its finest to protect you.
Inspect Your Safety Helmet Daily – All safety helmet components and accessories should be inspected daily for excess wear or damage, such as dents, cracks, penetration, and heat or chemical exposure that might reduce the degree of protection originally provided. Any safety helmet with worn, damaged, or defective parts should be removed from service and replaced. Additionally, note that any safety helmet that sustains an impact should be replaced even with no noted signs of damage.
Inspect suspension system straps and clips for fraying, tears, cracks, hair products, perspiration, and insecticides - all can affect suspension components. If a helmet contains a foam lining, inspect and replace if any signs of damage.
Wear Correctly – Safety helmets should be adjusted according to proper fit and donning instructions to provide the best possible protection.
Check the Service Life –Specific service life, defined in terms of number of years, is not required to be included on safety helmets, so you may not find one. Although, individual manufacturers may choose to include such information, as well as identify certain conditions that may affect a helmet’s protection capability over time.
If proper care is taken and no impact has occurred, your safety helmet shell should last up to four years, and the suspension should be replaced every 12 months. Consult your manufacturer for more detailed service life guidelines.
Sun Exposure – For safety helmets constructed of plastic materials, ultraviolet (UV) radiation can pose a problem over a long period of time. The good news is that this kind of damage is easy to notice, as the glossy finish will eventually take on a chalky appearance. Further degradation may cause the shell’s exterior to flake. Any safety helmet with noticeable sun damage should be replaced.
Proper Cleaning and Storage – It’s important to clean your safety helmet, both the shell and suspension system, regularly. Only use mild soap and rinse with warm water, as cleaning solvents can weaken the head protection.
When you're done with your helmet for the day, store it in a clean, dry area that does not exceed 120 degrees Fahrenheit. Do not store it in direct sunlight. Manufacturers recommend that workers never leave their safety helmet in the rear window well of a vehicle or anywhere it would be exposed to sunlight while not in use because UV rays can do significant damage over time.
Be Mindful of Adhesives – Use caution when using stickers or paints on your safety helmet and always check with the safety helmet manufacturer. Anything covering your safety helmet can make your daily inspection more difficult by hiding or minimizing the appearance of damage.
Do Not Modify the Shell or Suspension – Any unauthorized alterations to your safety helmet will void the effectiveness of its ability to protect you on the job.
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