Although it’s important for workers onsite to be able to enjoy their job, and express individuality where it is safe to do so, workplace safety has to take priority. On-site, clothes choice is limited by legal safety requirements. This includes steel-capped boots and hi-vis waistcoats. It also includes wearing a hard hat of the correct colour and manufacture type.
For hygiene reasons, it’s better that each worker keeps their own hat – so stickers are a great way to identify which hat belongs to each person. Similarly, some companies would like to have their logo or a person’s job title on hard hats. This blog will assess the pros and cons of hard hat stickers. Could stickers on hard hats be a safety concern?
Hard hat inspection
Hard hats need to be inspected regularly to ensure that they aren’t damaged and are in good working order. Hard hat stickers can make the hat difficult to assess, by covering areas of damage that could be a potential threat to the wearer. When even the smallest surface cracks can compromise the safety of a helmet, it’s important that they are able to be assessed fully so that they can be withdrawn from use. Anything that hides or disguises this damage could pose a danger.
Some sticky substances, including those used in stickers, can react with the plastic in the hard hat and reduce the effectiveness of the material. Although this is unlikely, it is not impossible. Although most manufacturers say that their materials are resilient enough to withstand such a reaction, they do advise against the use of certain adhesives. Because it is impossible to test against all types of adhesives, it is usually recommended to not use stickers.
Hard hat expiry dates
Hard hats have expiry dates. Because of the nature of the plastic in use, over time the material can weaken and will need replacing. Every hard hat, by law, will have a date inscribed on it somewhere. This will let the safety inspector and user know when it should be replaced. Stickers should not be posted over the expiry date on the hat as it would expose the wearer to unnecessary risk.
Alternatives to hard hat stickers
Pad printing allows logos and job titles to be printed directly onto the hat without compromising its safety. The printing is permanent and won’t peel off after being exposed to the weather. Similarly, engraving identification information underneath the brim of the hat is a good alternative to stickers. Under the brim, it will not affect the hat’s performance, but engraving should not happen on any other part of the hat.