Is it okay to put stickers on hard hats?

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It doesn’t take more than a couple of minutes at most job sites to see that everyone wants to personalize their hard hat. Many workers use markers, paint and/or stickers to help make their hard hat more of a reflection of who they are.

Is this practice acceptable?

While at first glance it doesn’t seem to make any difference most companies are now saying “No!” to marking hard hats or putting stickers on them and for good reason.

OSHA doesn’t specifically prohibit paint, markers or stickers but it does make the point that…

“To ensure a helmet is and remains in a “reliable” condition, the helmet must be inspected prior to use for signs of dents, cracks, penetration, and any damage due to impact, rough treatment, or wear that might reduce the degree of protection originally provided and used and maintained in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions. Paints and stickers may eliminate electrical resistance and – depending on the location and quantity – conceal defects, cracks, penetration, and any damage that would be otherwise readily identifiable during the employee’s inspection to ensure reliability. Another concern is that paints, thinners, and solvents… can also attack or damage the shell of a helmet and reduce protection.”

So the bottom line is that OSHA probably can’t cite you for having stickers on your hard hat, it’s probably not a good idea to put them on it. Having said that manufacturers do make reflective stickers for your hard hats that are designed to increase visibility.

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