4 Essential Elements for a Well-Fitting Hard Hat
“I can’t count the number of times my hard hat has fallen off when I bend forward.” It’s a common sentiment among workers who wear hard hats. But it doesn’t have to be.
Why do some hard hats stay on and others fall off?
A hard hat designed with stability and comfort in mind will not only feel secure, but will stay on when wearers bend over to pick up a tool off the ground.
There are four key design principles needed to work together to provide stability without sacrificing comfort.
“If I have the adjustment cranked down hard enough to stay on, it becomes really uncomfortable, really quickly.”
Design Key #1: CRADLES YOUR HEAD.
The suspension cradles just below the occipital bone. The occipital bone is the curved “bump” you may feel on the lower back of your skull. Bullard suspensions gently sit just below the bump of the occipital bone, holding on to the head securely without requiring a severe tightening of the ratchet to squeeze the head.
Design Key #2: AN ABSORBENT BROW PAD.
It’s no surprise that a sweaty head has the potential to make a hard hat slip off the wearer’s head. That’s why a super absorbent brow pad that covers a large area is so important. Bullard brow pads softly connect with the forehead to soak up sweat and gently grip the wearer without pinching or mashing against the head.
“I have been wearing hard hats for well over 20 years and, yes, mine falls off all the time while bent over, maybe because I have a large head, maybe because I sweat a lot.”
Design Key #3: BALANCED FIT.
Many hard hat manufacturers will tout a low center of gravity as a feature of their hard hats. How does a low center of gravity affect stability? When a hat sits lower on a user’s head, the hat is less likely to tip off, be knocked off, or feel unbalanced when moving. However, the desire for a low center of gravity must be balanced with the need for proper clearance between the top of the head and the shell of the hat, meeting ANSI/ISEA, CSA, and other safety standards for protection against blows to the head.
In addition to the low center of gravity design, Bullard hard hats offer a variety of height settings on the suspension to allow for a customized ride height, based on user preference for balance.
Design Key #4: FLEXIBLE AND SECURE.
A secure, flexible ratchet is the final design key for ultimate stability. A secure fit shouldn’t require a tight grip from the sizing mechanism. A suspension that offers flex-points to accommodate the curve of the neck and a sizing mechanism that won’t strip out is vital for a stable fit. The Flex-Gear® ratchet on select suspensions from Bullard is designed with a flexible nape cushion and a sturdy non-strip ratchet sizing knob.
The Most Important Test: THE WEAR TEST.
To truly evaluate stability, wear various hard hat designs. Bend over and pick up tools. Move and turn, evaluating the security of the fit. Most importantly, wear the hard hat through an entire shift. Choose a hard hat that stays put when workers bend over and still offers comfort after a full day of use.