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Kevlar Hard Hats: An Emerging Technology

Kevlar Hard Hats: An Emerging Technology

When Officer Napolitano responded to the shooting at an Orlando Bar, he didn’t know what fate awaited him. Heroically entering in the active scene and engaging the shooter, Napolitano was shot it the head by the assailant. The truly miraculous part was that Napolitano survived. What saved Officer Napolitano, along with countless others, was his Kevlar enforced helmet. Kevlar is now making the move from law enforcement and military applications to construction in the form of Kevlar hard hats.

Para-aramid synthetic fiber, what we know as Kevlar, was invented by a Polish chemist  Stephanie Kwolek. Since its discovery, Kevlar vests have been standard issue for police and military personnel all over the world. Today, a vast number of these men and women owe their lives to Stephanie Kwolek, as her invention has protected them from bullets and shrapnel that would have otherwise taken their lives.

Now Kevlar may be responsible for saving even more lives, but for those working in construction of general industry. A few companies have started using carbon fiber and Kevlar as their main composite for their hard hats. These hard hats are ANSI aligned and made with aerospace-grade carbon fiber and Kevlar. Kevlar offers a lot of positives. Kevlar doesn’t burn or melt in high temperatures, nor is affected by colder temperatures. This allows it to be used in extreme conditions if necessary without compromising safety. If Kevlar can handle bullets, it will protect workers from most falling objects, some high velocity tools such as nail guns, or flying debris. Perhaps the most important trait, however, is how incredibly light it is. Many workers dread wearing their hard hats due to discomfort, much which is due to the weight that it places on the head. Kevlar hard hats are much lighter, weighing in at an estimated 40% less than standard hard hats, according to one manufacturer.

There are draw backs, however. Because Kevlar hard hats are en emerging technology, they are hard to find, with only a few companies producing them. That a leads to a long wait times for some orders. They can also be very expensive, being that Kevlar is in high demand. That being said, Kevlar hard hats could become more common as companies catch on. Just like with all PPE, make sure that these helmets offer the needed protection before purchasing these for yourself or your workers.

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Good luck and stay safe.