Blue is the new orange at george fisher mine

More than 900 workers at George Fisher Mine (GFM) have replaced their old orange hard hats with bright new blue ones, after it was identified the safety measure should be given more attention.

Stuart Reid, General Manager Mining, GFM says hard hats were recognised as an area for improvement at recent 'Safety Stop' meetings where workers took the opportunity to reflect on safety.

"During that meeting, we discussed safety and complacency, and what we call the hidden gorillas in the workplace that can be easily overlooked," Stuart says.

"One of the examples raised was how often hard hats should be replaced, as Australian regulations require hard hats to be replaced at least every two years or sooner if the integrity of the hard hat has been compromised."

As a result, a number of special BBQ breakfasts were held to give employees across all rosters the opportunity to swap over their old hard hats for a new blue replacement.

The workers were also provided with approved, fit-for-purpose sticker decals on their hard hats to remind them of their PB5s (Personal Big 5 reasons to stay safe and return home at the end of each shift), but don't affect the integrity of the helmets.

The roll-out has been well-received, with 904 hard hats exchanged to date. For every old hard hat handed in, GFM is donating $5 to the Queensland Miners Memorial raising a total of about $4,500 so far.

"We're proud of how our workers have embraced this initiative," Stuart says.

GFM is continuing the exchange program for workers who may have missed out on the earlier opportunities.

inspect your hard hat for signs of wear

Workers must regularly inspect their hard hats. Inspect the shell for signs of damage such as dents, gouges, scrapes, holes or cracks. Also look for any fading or chalkiness which can be signs of ageing.

If you drop the hat on a hard surface or receive a blow to your head, inspect it carefully before continuing to use it or get a new one if there's any damage.

The suspension inside the shell absorbs the impact of a knock to protect your head, and should also be routinely checked for wear, fraying, cuts, tears, and dirt.

Working in the sun for long hours or in environments with chemicals or high temperatures can also result in hard hats deteriorating more quickly.

Stickers, marking pens, paint or other materials (other than those approved for identification, emergency information or reflective markings) must not be used as they compromise the hat's effectiveness.

It is important hard hats are in good condition at all times to give you the best possible protection when you most need it.