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Construction Workers Display Their Hardhats With Pride

The wearing of hard hats has become universally synonymous with construction workers as if they were the only group to wear them. Unlike most workers who wear hard hats the average long-time construction worker will personalize his hardhat and feel a sentimental attachment to It. Inside the hat you are likely to find photos of his girlfriend or his wife and children, some important telephone numbers and mybe even some emergency contact information. On the outside his hardhat looks like no other. Custom paint maybe but stickers for sure, safety slogans, former employers, vendors, sports teams and equipment brands. The stickers are a constant testament to his travels and experiences.

Given that iron age worriers wore metal helmets to ward off sword maul and hatchet blows, you would think that hardhats would have been a no-brainer for eons. Actually hard hats as we know them were introduced after WWI and not mandatory on construction projects prior to the Hoover Dam project in 1931. The first hardhats were made of leather. Later came hardhats made of metal, bakelite, fiberglass and finally hard plastic.

In about 1920 the E.D. Bullard Company developed the "Hard Boiled" hardhat from a composite material. Soon after they developed the internal suspension modeled after the military "Brodie" helmet. Fiberglass hardhats have been in demand since their introduction in the early 1950s Metal hardhats were used up into the late 1960s for non electrical occupations.

OSHA standards for head protection is described in section 29 CFR 1910.135

Some out of production vintage hardhats are now considered classic and are much sought after. They have been known to fetch hundreds of dollars in private sales.