Is the clock is ticking on your hard hat?

Hard hats a vital part of your PPE armour as they provide protection to the most import part of your body.

Expiry dates

The expiration date on your hard hat is the maximum lifespan it has, it is not the date for replacement.  Many manufacturers such as JSP and 3M recommendation lifespans for there products and this can be between 3 and 5 years.

How long you will get out of your hard hat depends on a number of factors, how long after manufacturer you start using it and what happens to the hard hat when you use it.

If you bought in bulk buy a number of hard hats with a 5 year lifespan because they were on offer and you stored them in your cupboard for 2 years then you will only get a maximum of 3 years of use.

If the expiration date has been exceeded, the hard hat should be replaced, even if it looks to be in good condition. This rule is the same for hard hats that never been used.

Explanation of the date stamp

The number in the middle is the year of manufacture, and the arrow points to the month.  So the image below show the hard hat was manufactured in March 2016.

Taking care of your hard hat

Hard hats can go bad before their time if they are not looked after correctly.  For example if you leave a glass of milk in the sun it will go off quicker than if you store it correctly in the fridge.  It’s the same with hard hats, they should always be stored in a cool place away from natural sunlight, as long-term exposure to extreme environmental conditions can cause degradation, which reduces the strength and efficiency of the helmets.

Signs that your hard hat is due for replacement

  • If your hard hat exceeds the manufacturers life span
  • If your hard hat is fading or brittle
  • If your hard hat is dented, cut or deeply scuffed
  • If your hat suffered an impact


Stickers can hide cracks and other potential damage.  The Heath and Safety Executive’s (HSE’s) guide to the Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations 1992 states you ‘should not customise head protection, e.g. make your own ventilation holes, paint, mark or put stickers on it‘. ‘

We do hope that you find the guidance contained in this blog useful. If you are interested in finding out more please get in touch.

I forgot my hard hat when I went to the building site... Health and safety came down on me like a tonne of bricks!

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