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aluminum vs plastic hard hats

Philbert

Philbert

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All materials have 'plastic' (deforming) and 'elastic' (rebounding) properties. And all helmet suspensions transmit downward force to the neck and shoulders.

The effects of specific materials, and specific suspension designs, can only be accurately determined by testing. That's what the standards are for.

Philbert
 
Philbert

Philbert

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read that out of a manual?
ever been struck on the head?
Actually, Randy I have done some research on PPE. How it works. Why it works. It's limits. If you want to wear a metal helmet, then do so. I am not offended.

Metal helmets can be hotter in the sun, and colder in the winter. They can be noisier when brush or rain hits it. Zero electrical protection. Can accumulate lots of 'dings', depending on thickness, just in normal handling.

'Plastic' can include a range of materials, including polyethylene (stuff milk bottles are made from), polycarbonate ('Lexan'), ABS (football helmets), Kevlar (technically a laminate), etc., each with different characteristics.

But a guy can get a basic, inexpensive, ANSI compliant, 'plastic' helmet for under $10, that will provide a lot of protection, last a long time, be hard to misplace in the woods, and is easy to replace if damaged.

Front brim, full brim, no brim, etc. , it is the suspension that provides most of the protection; aside from a penetrating injury, it spreads the force out. But eventually, all of the impact load gets transferred to the worker. Especially, if it is enough to dent a metal helmet or crack a plastic one.

Kind of like suspenders ('braces'). Some guys gotta have the leather ones, with the brass buckles, and other guys just want to keep their pants up. Different styles, different preferences, etc.

Philbert
 
northmanlogging

northmanlogging

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plastic is way hotter especially in sunny conditions. plastic in general does not block all the light.

if you have a plain unpainted aluminium hat, they tend to reflect the light and mist of the heat with it, painted ones bot as much
 
northmanlogging

northmanlogging

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and I can confirm, a dented aluminium hat vs a scratched plastic hat... the plastic hats feel like you just got bludgeoned, the aluminum, your ears will ring, but your neck won't hurt nearly as bad


also, on that $300 pfanner lid dude just bought, it's only good for 5 years, then you will need another one... aluminium last forever as long as you dont flatten it
 
catbuster

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Man, I thought the Skullgard was expensive. $300 bucks... I’ll be okay with replacing suspensions on a $100 lid.

The white painted Skullgard is pretty cool in the summer. The brown ones are a good way to cook your head. I can attest to that. I’ve spent summers in Oregon/Washington and in the southeast, and hot is hot and eventually I just learned to embrace the suck. Light? That’s what dark colored glasses are for. A set of Jackson Nemesis is $4.97 per pair, and they do a great job with the sun and are Z87 rated.

I haven’t had any problems with my Bullards making my head uncomfortable, including working one particular weekend in July of 2018 where ambient temperatures were 108 with a lovely heat index of 148-no joke. My whole body was uncomfortable, but the hard hat wasn’t exactly causing the problem.

Anyway, the reason fewer bells get rung with an aluminum lid is because the hat yields, which is bad for it. The material then has less strength to offer the next time it gets whacked. Plenty of guys beat out the dents and go on instead of replacing the lid, but they’re running one compromised, which is no bueno. A plastic hat will yield in such a way that it won’t be possible to be used after a hard enough impact, like a four inch crack after a 5/8” rigging chain whacks you from ten feet. They're idiot proof.

You all can wear what you want, but the plastic hats are safer, even a Bakelite/fiber design from the 1930s like I prefer. They’re idiot proof and don’t allow some of the unsafe practices others do with aluminum lids. You might get your bell rung but that big limb is more likely to bounce somewhere else than crush the hat like a can in on you head.
 
Philbert

Philbert

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I haven’t had any problems with my Bullards making my head uncomfortable, including working one particular weekend in July of 2018 where ambient temperatures were 108 with a lovely heat index of 148-no joke. My whole body was uncomfortable, but the hard hat wasn’t exactly causing the problem.
In high heat, or arctic cold environments, special PPE may be needed. In steel mills, foundries, brick kilns, etc., we used phenolic or Kevlar helmets. Some plastics get soft in extreme heat; some get brittle in the cold. If you are working under those conditions, you should take a look at the ratings for specific products.

Philbert
 
catbuster

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In high heat, or arctic cold environments, special PPE may be needed. In steel mills, foundries, brick kilns, etc., we used phenolic or Kevlar helmets. Some plastics get soft in extreme heat; some get brittle in the cold. If you are working under those conditions, you should take a look at the ratings for specific products.

Philbert
That’s one reason I wear the Skullgard, in addition to the low profile and low weight. It’s a class G helmet, good for up to 350 degrees Farenheit. The Bullards I issue are good up to 150, that day we were still comfortably in their safe range. Fibre-Metal’s P1 & P2 are two other good options for high heat. Neither is NFPA 1977 rated, or even compliant, so they’re no good for wildland fire applications.

Aluminum hats with a full brim are usually Type I, class C helmets per ANSI Z-89.1. Plastic full brims are Type I, class G. Plastic caps are Type I, class G.
 
Philbert

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Current definitions:

Type I is top impact protection.
Type II is top and side impact.

The class is an electrical rating: any helmet with vent holes automatically gets the lowest electrical rating.

I don't work with metal helmets. But all of the full brim and front brim helmets I have seen have been Type I, unless they have a foam EPS liner (like a bicycle helmet).

Bump caps are a separate category. See
ANSI Z89.1-1997 and later definitions:

https://ehs.oregonstate.edu/sites/ehs.oregonstate.edu/files/pdf/si/head_protection_si087.pdf

Philbert
 
Philbert

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Note the styrofoam (EPS) liner in a current Type II helmet for side impact protection:
IMG_4310.jpg
The 'old' Type I/II designation just distinguished between full brim and front brim helmets.

Philbert
 
madhatte

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Aluminum transfers heat way better than plastic. *TRANSFERS* heat. That is, if it's hot out, it will let plenty of heat in. However, it will also let plenty of heat out, which matters a lot in cool or moderate temperatures. Plastic, by contrast, transfers heat poorly. The double whammy curse here on a hot day is that while it doesn't let much in, it also doesn't let much out. On a hot day or on a fire, it's gonna be hot no matter what material you are wearing. On a cool or moderate day, aluminum's heat transfer makes it far more comfortable than plastic.

Aluminum deforms visibly with impact. That is, you take a whack, and can see how bad it is. Plastic does not always show the damage from the same impact, and also photodegrades. Plastic needs replaced at the manufacturer's suggested intervals because you just don't know what defects are hidden in it. Aluminum shows you exactly on inspection where the damage is and how bad it is. Aluminum does not suffer the embrittlement from sun exposure that plastic does.

I work fire as well as non-fire forestry tasks. I switch regularly between plastic and aluminum as required by regulations. When I have the choice, I wear aluminum. It is more comfortable in more temperature conditions, is lighter, and shows damage so I know when it needs replaced. Further I can happily recommend the current Skull Bucket brand as based in Texas because they sell a superior product and are super responsive to customer input. Theirs is by far the best suspension I've ever used.

As for brims: I prefer a full brim under all conditions because it helps keep rain, debris, and embers off of my neck. You won't see me recommend any helmet without a full brim.
 
Philbert

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Guys who work in thick brush, and climbers, like the no-brim helmets. A lot of guys like them just for the style.

Guess it is like saws and golf clubs; good to have options for different situations.

Philbert
 
Skeans

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Guys who work in thick brush, and climbers, like the no-brim helmets. A lot of guys like them just for the style.

Guess it is like saws and golf clubs; good to have options for different situations.

Philbert
All the guys I’ve ever been around eeven doing pre commercial thinning as well as commercial thinning all wear full brim hats but it’s also on the wet coast.


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
 
Cenpennlogger

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and I can confirm, a dented aluminium hat vs a scratched plastic hat... the plastic hats feel like you just got bludgeoned, the aluminum, your ears will ring, but your neck won't hurt nearly as bad


also, on that $300 pfanner lid dude just bought, it's only good for 5 years, then you will need another one... aluminium last forever as long as you dont flatten it
If I wear it 1600 hrs a year for 5 yrs that comes out to 0.0375$ per hour ..... I reckon I can manage that
 
Gologit

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Anybody else miss Bob? He's on FB now and again, but not quite the same thing.
I'm still around once in awhile. The only forum I visit is Logging.
I like to read threads, "like" the posts that make sense, and have a good laugh over the rest.
I see that nothing has changed much. There's still a handful of people who know what they're talking about, amateur and professional both. There's also the usual compliment of keyboard commandos, wannabes, ankle biters, groupies, and drag-alongs.
I'm enjoying my retirement. I don't miss logging nearly as much as I thought I would. There's a whole lot about it that I don't miss at all. It's really nice on those cold rainy mornings with the rain coming down sideways to just sit by the stove and have another cup of coffee if I want one.
I do miss some of the people I worked with and learned from. I was so very fortunate to have the role models I had. I'll always be grateful to have go into some of the last of the old growth redwood falling. I knew at the time that that way of life was disappearing forever and it made each day a little more special.
Since I retired I don't have much to contribute and I try not to inflict my stories on the younger generations. I haven't spent a dollar at Bailey's in over a year.
There's still a small core of good people on AS whose word I trust and whose experience and work ethic speak for themselves. 2dogs, Madhatte, northman, RandyMac, RWoods, skeans, and Burvol...wherever he may be...have helped a lot of people with sharing experiences and knowledge. They understand the way things should be. I know I left a few names out but don't get too butt-hurt...if you're good enough to join that list you'll know it. If you're not, just listen and pay attention.
 
northmanlogging

northmanlogging

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There's still a small core of good people on AS whose word I trust and whose experience and work ethic speak for themselves. 2dogs, Madhatte, northman, RandyMac, RWoods, skeans, and Burvol...wherever he may be...have helped a lot of people with sharing experiences and knowledge. They understand the way things should be. I know I left a few names out but don't get too butt-hurt...if you're good enough to join that list you'll know it. If you're not, just listen and pay attention.
**** now I gotta hold my end up...
 
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