As the weather gets hotter, you might be starting to think about swapping the hard hat for other headwear to keep the sun off and to keep yourself cool.
However, if you need to wear a hard hat for work, the accessories you chose may put you at risk of an injury by reducing the overall effectiveness of your PPE.
As well as their compliance with New Zealand safety standards, hard hats and other PPE rely upon an adequate user fit to protect the wearer.
Any additional accessories or clothing which affect fit could reduce the hard hat’s ability to keep you protected.
We're not saying don't wear the necessary PPE, but make sure it is safe to do so before you do pinch the cut the brim off your old straw hat.
Before you do anything, make sure that you always follow the manufacturer’s instructions. If the manufacturer says don’t do it… stop there!
When you get to a grey area and the manufacturer hasn't specified if something is allowable, you will have to do your own risk analysis before going ahead.
With all that said, to help you out, here is a 5 step guide with some hard hat accessory to get you started.
1. No top knots!
If you're rocking the latest top knot fashion, then it’s a no-no. The same goes for turbans, sombreros, beanies with pompoms and anything else that lifts your hard hat too far off your noggin.
Lifting the hard hat off your head, as these accessories do, can make the hard hat unstable and lead to the hard hat falling off or failing to protect you correctly in the event of an accident.
If the added accessory doesn’t sit smoothly against your head, then it’s not a good idea to wear it.
2. Choose thin beanies and winter liners.
Winter liners (balaclava style headwear) and flat-top beanies usually fit well under our hard hats, but it is definatly worth testing for yourself before you wear it on the worksite.
As part of the test, make sure there are no metal pieces or any part of the design the prevents the hard hat from fitting snuggly on your head.
3. No caps… or metal!
While these styles of hat sit closer to your head, most caps have the little metal stud or button on the top which could prove dangerous if you receive an impact to the top of your head. The stud could be driven into your skull, giving you more than a headache.
It is also worth noting that if the brim is curved, it will prevent the hard hat from sitting on your head correctly.
It is best to avoid caps (and any metal) under your hard hat.
4. Sun and sweat protection is a go.
While caps are down the road, fabric or plastic visors, brims and flaps which attach to the hard hat are a great way to stay sun-safe during the summer months.
Check the manufacturer’s directions to ensure that you’re wearing them correctly and with the right type of hard hat.
And if you want to use a soft sweatband to keep the sweat out of your eyes, that will typically fit easily with a hard hat as well.
5. Straps and lamps
Adding a strap or lamp to your hard hat could improve your safety, however, make sure to fit these accessories correctly.
It’s always best to buy your hard hat and these types of accessories from the same manufacturer to ensure a better fit, rather than mixing different brands.