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At what point should a hard hat be replaced?

While any serious injury could pose a threat to a worker's ability to stay on the job, most injuries can heal. However, a traumatic brain injury could do more than cause a worker to miss time from the job. Severe TBI could leave a worker struggling to simply function on a day-to-day basis.

In a previous post, we discussed the importance of hard hats and how they should be used on construction sites. However, it's also important to make sure that the hard hats that are used are in good shape and capable of providing the necessary level of protection.

Hard hats are not meant to last forever and need periodic replacement. How often should old helmets be swapped out for new hard hats? Usually, a hard hat will have an expiration date which is located on its inside rim.

Manufacturers generally recommend that hard hats be replaced after four to five years of use. However, if the hard hat receives regular exposure to sunshine, it should be replaced every two years. This is because being in the sun degrades the plastic very quickly.

Regardless of these recommendations, it is important to regularly inspect hard hats for cracks, dents, holes and gouges. Because the hat's suspension is what actually provides much of its protection, the webbing needs to be replaced when it shows signs of cuts, tears or fraying.

Hard hats are an absolute necessity when working on a construction job. However, even a brand-new helmet may not be able to fully protect from the effects of a blow to the head. If you should suffer a head injury while on the job, it is very important to seek medical attention as soon as possible.

If your injury results in time lost from work, or the need for long-term care, you should be able to collect workers' compensation. To help ensure you get all of the benefits to which you are entitled, you may wish to contact an attorney to represent your interests.

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