Frequently Asked Questions
How does a hard hat protect you?
A hard hat protects you by providing the following features:
- A rigid shell that resists and deflects blows to the head
- A suspension system inside the hat that acts as a shock absorber
- If fitted with a brow guard, shields your scalp, face, neck and shoulders from splashes, spills and drips
- If fitted with ear muffs, provides protection for your hearing.
What Standards do ProChoice hard hats meet?
Every ProChoice helmet or hard hat is tested and inspected to AS/NZS1801 so it meets the needs of industry in Australia.
This Standard has specific requirements for protective helmets to protect the wearer’s heads from falling objects and debris in the workplace and reduce the risk of injury. The Standard specifies requirements for the construction and materials of the helmet shell and head harness, mechanical strength of the shell and finish of the helmet.
What tests do the hard hats undergo to meet these Standards?
Every production run of ProChoice helmets is tested to ensure it complies with the Australian Standard AS/NZS1801.
Hard hats are conditioned prior to each test to differing heats and conditions to ensure that they comply under a variety of conditions.
- Hot — at a temperature of 50 ±2°C.
- Cold — at a temperature of -10 ±2°C.
- Wet — total immersion in water at a temperature of 23 ±5°C.
They then undergo testing for:
- Electrical Resistance – where the leakage current cannot exceed 3 mA with no electrical discharge from the material nor flashover over the rim of the helmet.
- Stiffness – where the indent of the hard hat shell under a force of 90 ±1 Newton (N) does not exceed 15 mm when measured between 8 seconds and 10 seconds after application of this force [A Newton is the amount of force required to accelerate a body with a mass of one kilogram at a rate of one metre per second squared.]
- Shock Absorption – where the impact of 50 ±1 Joule (J) will not cause the deceleration of the striker to exceed 980 m/s2, or the force transmitted to the hard hat wearer will not exceed 5.0 kN. [A Joule is the work done, or energy expended, by a force of one newton moving an object one metre along the direction of the force.]
- Resistance to Penetration – where the wearer’s head is not hit by the point of the striker.
What is the in-use life span of a hard hat?
When a hard hat shows signs of wear and tear to both the helmet shell and the harness it should be replaced. It should also be replaced after any impact that would have caused the wearer injury as the integrity of the structure will have been weakened. Although there is no set service life for hard hats, we recommend replacement after no more than 5 years.
In-use, head protection is generally treated with a lack of care, often being thrown or dropped, used as a receptacle for all manner of items, or carried on the rear window shelf of a vehicle. None of these actions are conducive to continued performance so ProChoice recommend users to regularly inspect both the helmet shell and its harness for signs of wear and tear and to store in a cool, dry place when not in use.
Replace your hard hat when:
- Cracks appear in the shell
- The shiny surface appears dull or chalky
- The shell becomes brittle
- Impact with helmet surface has been made
Replace your suspension when:
- The suspensions become brittle
- One or more of the mounts break off
- The suspension will no longer hold securely to the head
- The cradling straps break or become worn
Date stamp? Is that like a best before date?
No, we are required by the Australian Standards to mark each helmet with the month and year of manufacture. This should not be used as a basis for determining the life of an industrial safety helmet.
Will the addition of chin straps, visors or ear muffs affect the effectiveness of the Hard Hat?
ProChoice accessories such as chinstraps, ear muffs and visors have been designed to complement the ProChoice hard hats without compromising the effectiveness of the helmet. Official ProChoice accessories have been tested and certified by Australian Standards to meet their stringent criteria, when worn with ProChoice Hard Hats.
Can I use the chin strap off helmets supplied by a different company?
This not recommended.
Chin straps are not tested under AS/NZS 1801 for Type 1 helmet but in order to provide the best quality product, ProChoice chin strap is tested and certified by BSI against European Standard EN397:1995 Industrial Safety Helmet.
Under the European Standard requirement, it became necessary for the chin strap to break when a specific load is applied. A ProChoice chin strap may break in a different manner to another company’s and so it is recommended that you should only use a ProChoice chin strap on a ProChoice helmet.
Can a hard hat be painted?
No. The addition of paint or other chemical compounds may alter the structural and protective effectiveness of the hard hat. The ProChoice range comes in a series of colours to suit the varying requirements of workplaces.
What is ProLock?
ProLock is a patented, unique easy adjustment harness system for ProChoice hard hats which also incorporates the ProLink anchorage system.
It removes the frustration and guess work out of properly fitting a hard hat. A comfortable and safe fit is achieved without having to remove the hard hat.
What is ProLink?
The ProLink anchorage system is used to connect the inside harness webbing to the hard hat and significantly improves shock absorption and the effectiveness of the hard hat. This feature is exclusive to ProChoice hard hats.
What is the importance of the harness, apart from fitting the hard hat to the head?
The harness works by stretching, which absorbs and distributes the force of the energy at impact, thus minimising the effect of the outside force. ProChoice has the patented ProLink anchorage design to connect the inside webbing which significantly improves shock absorption.
Hard hats should be replaced after experiencing an impact as the harness may be weakened.
Can the effectiveness of a hard hat be affected by modifications such as drilling holes for ventilation or to secure a light?
Yes, the design of the hard hat is to give maximum protection at minimum weight. This is achieved by the ridging and moulding of the helmet shape. Any interference to the design will weaken the structure.