Hard hats are an essential part of occupational safety. It is among the first items that come to mind when people think about safety gear. But are the various hard hat materials different from one another? Do some materials have a higher quality than others?
Workers in environments where there is a risk of head injury from impact, from falling or flying items, or from electrical shock and burns, must wear protective helmets, according to OSHA. Hard hats offer a variety of levels of protection, so it’s critical to pick the one that best suits your job.
Are Carbon Fiber Hard Hats Better Than Other Types?
Carbon fiber hats are superior to conventional hard helmet alternatives because of a few features. Carbon fiber choices do have some drawbacks and restrictions, though, which may make them less suitable for the work you intend to accomplish.
What Justifies Wearing a Hard Hat?
Hard hats are an essential part of occupational safety. It is among the first items that come to mind when people think about safety gear. Wearing a hard helmet will shield you from impacts, burns, and shocks. By donning a hard helmet, you can protect yourself from these risks while working. But are the various hard hat materials different from one another? Do some materials have a higher quality than others? Throughout this post, we’ll go into more detail about these issues.
Do I Need to Wear a Hard Hat According to OSHA?
Workers in environments where there is a risk of head injury from impact, from falling or flying items, or from electrical shock and burns, must wear protective helmets, according to OSHA. Employers are also responsible for supplying you with the PPE you need to protect yourself from occupational dangers in addition to adhering to this standard.
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This means that if there is a chance that you could get a head injury, your employer is required to give you a hard helmet. Hard hats offer a variety of levels of protection, so it’s critical to pick the correct one for the job at hand.
What Materials Make Up the Hardest Hats?
High-density polyethylene or ABS plastic, which are organic and non-conductive materials, are used to make standard hard hats that adhere to ANSI regulations. Standard hard helmets made of high-density polyethylene typically weigh around 13 ounces, or just under a pound.
A resin coating is also found on several hard hat models, which helps to fortify the shell. Resin is a non-conductive substance having a 2,200-volt tolerance. However, this resistance decreases when combined with other conductive materials. Some hard helmets are entirely constructed of resin, which makes them effective at withstanding minor electrical risks.
Hard Hats Made of Carbon
Hard helmets made of carbon fiber comply with ANSI requirements and OSHA regulations. Due to its higher strength, which is five times that of steel, the carbon fiber material is particularly well-liked in other sectors including aircraft and mechanical. It is also significantly lighter than steel, weighing only about 17 ounces. When compared to traditional hard hats, carbon fiber hard hats have some benefits and drawbacks.
Benefits of Hard Hats Made of Carbon Fiber:
The main benefits of carbon fiber hard hats are their durability, lightweight (read this article to learn if they are lighter), and high level of impact resistance. Compared to metal hard hats of equivalent strength, the material is lightweight for its strength. Hard hats’ carbon fiber shells are frequently coated with resin to further increase their durability.
Carbon fiber hard hats can be ventilated as a class C hard hat, unlike their class G and class E equivalents. For work environments that present a high probability of overhead hazards that may hit, cut, or scratch your head, carbon fiber hard hats will be much more reliable than standard hard hats.
Because the material does not heat up until it is subjected to temperatures over 350°F, carbon fiber helmets are especially useful for working in hot environments. In hot summer weather, this will aid in keeping the user cool.
Carbon Fiber Hard Hats’ Drawbacks:
The fact that carbon fiber hard hats are only available in Class C variants is their most worrying drawback. They are therefore conducive and offer no defense against electrical dangers. They cost upwards of $160, which is significantly more than the cost of standard hard hats.
Another crucial aspect to take into account is the weight, which, while lower than its metal and aluminum equivalents, is a little heavier than hard helmets made of normal ABS plastic and high-density polyethylene. Although the difference is only a few ounces, some customers might not see it as much of a drawback.
It can be challenging to find carbon fiber hard hats that come with extras or that work with aftermarket additions. This means that the majority of carbon fiber hard hats are sold without any additional equipment, such as face shields or hearing protection.
How Long Are Carbon Fiber Hard Hats Good For?
Carbon fiber hard hats also have a five-year shelf life beyond the date of production, just like regular hard hats do. The hard hat has a stamp with this information on it. The date is typically stamped on the brim, but it might be located anywhere else inside.
The stamp resembles a spiraling array of numerals. The arrow will point to the number that corresponds to the month of the year it was created, and the number in the center represents the year it was manufactured. The hard hat’s serial number is represented by the additional numerals, which have nothing to do with the expiration date.
We’ve talked about the lifespan of carbon fiber helmets; read this article to find out how long they last in comparison to other kinds of hard hats.
Can Hard Hats Made of Carbon Fiber Be Modified?
Like most hard hats, a carbon fiber hard hat shouldn’t be altered by being punctured to add ventilation holes or slots for attachments. A hard hat’s structural integrity and impact resistance may be compromised by modifications. In essence, when you try to modify the hard hat, you hurt it and render it dangerous for usage.
Painting the hard hat could also be risky because it damages the hard hat’s shell’s surface chemically. Don’t do it unless the carbon fiber hard hat has the manufacturer’s approval and instructions on how to modify or paint the hard hat.
Should I Buy a Hard Hat Made of Carbon Fiber?
It is ultimately up to you to decide whether carbon fiber hard hats are superior to traditional hard hats for your particular needs. Due to their greater strength, carbon fiber hard hats are the optimum choice for class C hard hats. Both carbon fiber and conventional hard hats are strong and safe, but if your job involves electrical risks, it would be wise to stay with a different kind of hard hat.
Check out our OSHA-compliant PPE training and other, more career-specific training courses on our website for more details regarding PPE including hard hats.
Reviews of Carbon Fiber Hard Hats:
By reading evaluations of several types, you can also determine whether or not you should get a carbon fiber hard hat. You can get a sense of whether they are a good fit for your job based on what other people are saying about them. The majority of evaluations state the buyer’s profession and the rationale behind their hard hat selection.
In general, the majority of assessments agree that carbon fiber hard hats are:
- A comfortable fit since other hard helmets’ lower suspension system
- With a surface that properly deflects rain, it is waterproof.
- You hardly notice it on your head because it is so light.
- sufficient comfort to wear for hours on end
- better-looking than other hard helmets, with distinctive and fashionable designs
- costly in comparison to other hard hats, but well worth the cost
Of course, it is good to conduct your study and determine whether another hard helmet may exist that can fulfill all of your requirements at a cost you are comfortable with. However, the majority of employees who have bought carbon fiber hard hats have generally had good things to say and even recommended them.
Who Uses Hard Hats Made of Carbon Fiber?
Class G or class C hard hats are required for some professions, although class C hard hats are acceptable for others. Whether or whether you can wear a carbon fiber hard hat, which is a class C, will have a significant impact on the kind of work you do.
OSHA anticipates that employers will decide whether or not class C hard helmets are appropriate for the task and whether or not there is a danger of electrical hazards there. Workplaces were wearing a carbon fiber or class C hard helmet is often safe include:
- construction personnel (If the project they are working on has no known electrical hazards present)
- Mechanics \sWelders
- cargo handlers
- employees in a lumberyarda
- warehouse personnel
Before buying a carbon fiber hard hat, ask your company if you have any questions about whether you can wear one at work.