No mater what you're doing, safety is important. In many industries, hard hats are common, everyday wear. These small items do wonders for protecting people when out on the job. These hats protect the noggins of hard workers who may be exposed to falling objects that can do some serious harm.
Their history is an interesting one and they have come a long way over the years. Let's take a look!
History of Hard Hats
Miners and sock workers used to wear hats that were hardened " with leather or coating of tar/pitch, before there were safety regulations in place and standards for what should be worn.
E. W. Bullard the son of the founder of California's mining company, E.D. Bullard Company is credited with developing the first hardhat. He brought a steel helmet back from WWI with him and patented the Hard-Boiled Hat, " made with glue, black paint, and steamed canvas, in 1919.
That same year, the U.S. Navy commissioned him to develop a hard hat for shipyard workers. His development implemented the use of an inner suspension; thus, the hard hat was officially born. Hard hats were required to be worn on the work site for the first time in 1931 during the construction of the Hoover Dam.
Overtime, the material in which hard hats were made with changed. Firs they were made from steel before manufacturers began using fiberglass, aluminum, and finally high-density polyethylene.
Design and Manufacturing
The design of a hard hat ensures that the head is protected by providing a hard shell that receives the impact and an inner suspension which spreads the force of the impact. This decreases the pressure to the head and helps to prevent injury.
Today, hard hats are made of a variety of materials including aluminum, thermoplastics, fiberglass, and more. Most commonly, high-density polyethylene (HDPE) or of polycarbonate. These materials are both lightweight and strong while easy to mold.
The suspension system mentioned earlier is made from nylon of vinyl, both of which are derived from petroleum!
Not only does petroleum make the materials that we use on a day to day basis, but it also makes the materials that keep us safer and help us to do our jobs efficiently and well.