# What Deregulates a Hard Hat?

#### Lalaith

##### Member
I've started a very exciting Theater Design and Production major with a production work-study on the side at my University, and I need to wear my new hard hat for scenery/lighting/sound load-ins and other construction hours.

What can I put on a hard hat to personalize it and identify it as mine that won't deregulate it? I know there are many mixed opinions on this, so I just want to make sure I hear all the information and all the pros and cons I can.

I know I can't paint it or write on it directly with a sharpie, but what types of tape or stickers should I avoid, and why? Could I put gaff tape on it and label it with my name that way?

#### MNicolai

##### Well-Known Member
Fight Leukemia
You can put stickers on a hard hat. I spend a lot of time on construction sites and many construction managers require stickers to indicate you have received their safety training and are authorized to be on that project site. You still need to be able to visually inspect that the hard hat is in good condition by being able to look at the shell from the inside and ideally not having 100% or near 100% coverage of stickers on the outside.

I would avoid tape, especially gaffer's. Tape is thicker and the ripples in it over the curved surface can obfuscate a crack that develops. Stickers tend to be a little easier to reveal if something is damaged below the sticker.

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#### Van

##### CBMod
CB Mods
I know of no Prohibition against Writing your name on a hard hat with Sharpie. It's better and covers a smaller area than applying Gaff and writing on that. As a general rule stickers need to be non-metallic and should not interfere with performing an adequate inspection of the hardhat.

#### gafftapegreenia

##### CBMod
CB Mods
Biggest enemy is UV, but remember that most expire after 4-5 years from date of manufacturer, depending on working conditions. A small sticker or piece of gaff is ok, just dont paint it!

#### NateTheRiddler

##### Well-Known Member
I'll tell you what compromises the safety effectiveness of a hard hat...

... not wearing it.

Thanks folks, I'm here all night, making horrible safety jokes. *cough*

#### What Rigger?

##### I'm so fly....I Neverland.
What deregulates a hard hat? I think what you mean is "de-rates". But that's not exactly an accurate term either. What might compromise a hard hat and cause it to not pass twice yearly inspections? Aha! Now there's the rub....

Regarding stickers/decals/ink, etc... the manufacturer will tell you what is acceptable. As for the statement that OSHA says you can put stickers on a hard hat...do they really? From the link posted:
" painting or applying stickers must be performed in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions, unless the employer can demonstrate that the altered protective helmet is equally as effective and protective as those meeting the requirements of Z89.1”.

Go read the entire link, because you'll find there's even more there to muddy the waters. But I don't think anyone can take this as "OSHA says I can", because that will get you laughed straight off the job site if the AHJ sees it differently. What is your schools policy for students, by the way? If you're being issued one because you're an employee (as PPE is required to be, at least in California), you probably aren't going to be allowed to write on it. Or sticker it. Again, consult your AHJ. Have you been trained on how to inspect this particular lid? What manufacturers documents came with it?

It really comes down to this: people want stickers on their lid to call attention to themselves. It's why so many construction workers have theirs covered with so much s**t that you can't possibly inspect for damage. It's also an indicator that inspection and safety isn't really a priority. If safety is what you're actually after, ask yourself if your brain is more important that that My Little Pony sticker. You want to rep for Monster? Then rock that flatbill or snapback after the job is done.

Or look at it this way: in my department, I got 420 people total. 250 of them are issued Petzl Vertex helmets. Every single one of them look the same. Same Petzle hi-vis stickers, per manufacturer call out. Same 4 colors. P-touch label for names and tracking #'s in the same spot on every one of them. Nobody cares about personalization- this is a tool. It's purpose is to make sure you go home safely.

So, read the documentation that came with the hard hat, and do what it says. Leave the stickers for your lunchbox.

#### DanAyers

##### Member
The primary hazard for the degradation of a hard hat is UV Light. This is often due to sunlight exposure over time. When you purchase a hard hat you can easily get them with long-term exposure indicators from companies such as 3M.

Applying stickers is a muddy topic, I'm not going to rehash the other posts but here's the deal with stickers, unless it's a job site safety sticker then don't apply it. Many contractors have policies against stickers but there's really not much actual data showing where a sticker causes degradation of a hard hat. Even so, it's not something you want to argue in a workers comp case. Good practice, take care of your hard hat and replace it when it shows signs of aging. These things are $15-35 Anyway I didn't see UV emphasized above and wanted to mention it. Dan #### What Rigger? ##### I'm so fly....I Neverland. The primary hazard for the degradation of a hard hat is UV Light. This is often due to sunlight exposure over time. When you purchase a hard hat you can easily get them with long-term exposure indicators from companies such as 3M. Applying stickers is a muddy topic, I'm not going to rehash the other posts but here's the deal with stickers, unless it's a job site safety sticker then don't apply it. Many contractors have policies against stickers but there's really not much actual data showing where a sticker causes degradation of a hard hat. Even so, it's not something you want to argue in a workers comp case. Good practice, take care of your hard hat and replace it when it shows signs of aging. These things are$15-35

Anyway I didn't see UV emphasized above and wanted to mention it.

Dan
Good point, Dan. I see this a bunch.

I actually found one of our lids sitting in direct sunlight in a truck bed a couple weeks ago. Took it, inspected it, stashed it and made the person it's issued to come get it from me- but I got him the cutest baby blue cinch pack we had as a bonus. Even put his name on it.

RonHebbard

#### RonHebbard

##### Well-Known Member

View attachment 18876
Are you concerned about the hours of direct exposure to sunlight, the label affixed, or the ashes of the Park Service employee potentially under the hat?
Toodleoo!
Ron Hebbard

#### Kristi R-C

##### Member
The clear version of P-touch label tape allows you to stick a name on while still being able to see through to check the hard hat for the pre-use inspection- place that in front above the brim so others can immediately know who you are and to facilitate ID in case of emergency.

Safety instruction completion decals are typically 1" in diameter and should be worn wherever the site safety officer designates - often over the right ear - place this year's on top of last year's. Nothing else should be put on the surface. Use the accessories the manufacturer recommends - headlamps, etc.

If you have a medical condition that first-responders need to know about, there are small adhesive pouches that can fit inside the hard hat which will hold that information, else I'm a big fan of ROAD-ID as it's totally customizable.

OSHA will tell you to do what the manufacture says. That's not the same as OSHA saying "go ahead."

Also - make certain what you are using is rated for the work you are doing. I love my VertexVent, but it's not rated for high voltage work.

#### What Rigger?

##### I'm so fly....I Neverland.
The clear version of P-touch label tape allows you to stick a name on while still being able to see through to check the hard hat for the pre-use inspection- place that in front above the brim so others can immediately know who you are and to facilitate ID in case of emergency.

Safety instruction completion decals are typically 1" in diameter and should be worn wherever the site safety officer designates - often over the right ear - place this year's on top of last year's. Nothing else should be put on the surface. Use the accessories the manufacturer recommends - headlamps, etc.

If you have a medical condition that first-responders need to know about, there are small adhesive pouches that can fit inside the hard hat which will hold that information, else I'm a big fan of ROAD-ID as it's totally customizable.

OSHA will tell you to do what the manufacture says. That's not the same as OSHA saying "go ahead."

Also - make certain what you are using is rated for the work you are doing. I love my VertexVent, but it's not rated for high voltage work.
@Kristi R-C does bring up a very valid point about high voltage ratings. Regardless of manufacturer, check that out.
Vertex Vents are glorious. My Kask is okay, but I'm hoping to switch that soon.

RonHebbard

#### jonliles

##### Well-Known Member
Fight Leukemia
Biggest enemy is UV, but remember that most expire after 4-5 years from date of manufacturer, depending on working conditions. A small sticker or piece of gaff is ok, just dont paint it!
3 years

RonHebbard

#### DanAyers

##### Member
If you have a medical condition that first-responders need to know about, there are small adhesive pouches that can fit inside the hard hat which will hold that information, else I'm a big fan of ROAD-ID as it's totally customizable.

OSHA will tell you to do what the manufacture says. That's not the same as OSHA saying "go ahead."
A road I’d is great but inside a helmet is not where first responders are trained to look and it could interfere with the air gap.

watch, necklaces, and wallet or phone case are appropriate locations for a road ID.

also, stickers, the biggest issue is they cover up damage. Therefore most safety managers only allow safety stickers on helmets, by the time the adhesive degrades the plasticit should be retired anyway. Exception, never apply anySticker of it could ever catch fire, then it creates a hotspot.

RonHebbard

#### DanAyers

##### Member
I would say if your hard hat is on fire, hot spots from stickers are likely a minor problem in the grand scheme of things.
Well, it depends. But you're probably talking about an arc flash. I can't think of too many scenarios but that seems to be the constant argument.

At the end of the day, don't store it in your back window of your car...

RonHebbard