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OSHA Regulations Regarding Stickers on Hard Hats

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OSHA requirements are set forth by the government in order to help prevent work-related injuries and deaths. OSHA rulings also comply with the American National Standards Institute, which also reflects the needs for insurance companies to insure corporations. Guidelines for safety equipment, in particular for jobs that present physical or environmental hazards, are crucial in protecting both the worker as well as the company from liability lawsuits. Among the many rules that OSHA has set forth, hard hat protection standards have also recently included the use of stickers on hard hats.

OSHA Requirements for Stickers and Decals

OSHA encourages the wearing of helmets in work environments that pose a risk of head injury to the worker. While the use of stickers and decals is permitted, there are rules governing where and how the stickers are placed. Stickers should be at least 3/4 inch from the edge, which helps to prevent the sticker from acting as an electrical conductor. Stickers should not cover the hat so much that it is difficult or impossible to inspect it for damages.

Possible reasons for concern

Although there is a low risk of occurrence, stickers may degrade the hard, plastic shell due to the chemicals contained in the adhesive. If stickers cover a large area of the hard hat, then it may be difficult to tell if the hat's exterior has become less glossy and more chalky in appearance, which is an indication that it requires replacement.

Other Requirements

One should pick the hat which is best suited to the type of work that is being done. Hats should protect against the risk of falling objects and electrical shock. Protective headgear should be marked by the manufacturer with the manufacturer's name, the legend "ANSI Z89.1-1986" and the class designation. Stickers should not cover any of these labels and markings, so that the user will be able to distinguish the appropriateness of the hat for the task being done.


David McGuffin is a writer from Asheville, N.C. and began writing professionally in 2009. He has Bachelor of Arts degrees from the University of North Carolina, Asheville and Montreat College in history and music, and a Bachelor of Science in outdoor education. McGuffin is recognized as an Undergraduate Research Scholar for publishing original research on postmodern music theory and analysis.

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