A pilot program with the objective to eliminate disrespectful behaviour in the resources industry, has been launched. Rio Tinto, BHP and Fortescue Metals Group are backing the initiative. The three major companies have worked together with leading experts to design and develop the program.
The program, which was initiated a year ago, will specifically target behaviours such as sexual harassment, bullying and racism. Employees will be educated on the impact of sexual harassment, bullying and racism in the workplace, including how to recognise and report these behaviours.
The pilot program is set to commence November 2022 and will be managed by the Australian Minerals and Energy Skills Alliance (AUSMESA). Experienced facilitators from Griffith University will work with 30 volunteers who are currently undertaking apprenticeships or traineeships with the three companies.
Once complete, the participants feedback will be evaluated to fine tune the overall program so that it may begin commencement early next year.
The launch of the pilot is a key milestone in our broader commitment to create a workplace culture that is safe, respectful and inclusive said Simon Trott, Rio Iron Ore Chief Executive.
“Building awareness through education on how we can create safer work environments through the prevention and elimination of sexual harassment, bullying and racism is vital to ensuring those joining our industry feel safe,” said Simon.
BHP WA Iron Ore asset president Brandon Craig said the program would help educate the next generation of workers.
“While we know there is more to do, this pilot is part of our redoubled efforts to eliminate sexual harassment and is in addition to a range of other measures including improved security at accommodation villages, additional public disclosures, specialised resources and company-wide training,” he said.
Over $200 million was recently invested by BHP in upgrades to security at accommodation villages in the past year. Fortescue Metal Group Chief Operating Officer Dino Otranto said there was zero tolerance for inappropriate behaviour.
“We remain firmly committed to ensuring that Fortescue has safe and inclusive workplaces, and that the mining industry as a whole is a safe and welcoming place for everyone who works within it,” he said.
The aim of the overall project is to broaden the reach of the program to other industry and education providers – and even made available to other industries.