Rio Tinto, BHP and Fortescue partner to Create Safer Workplaces

October 26, 2021

Three of the largest mining companies in the world, Rio Tinto, BHP and Fortescue Metals Group, are teaming up to fund efforts to end sexual harassment, bullying and racism in the workplace.

The partnership to fund innovative, industry-first learning programs was announced on Oct. 23.

“Our number one priority is the safety, health and wellbeing of our people and our communities,” Rio Tinto chief executive, iron ore, Simon Trott said in a statement. “We recognize that we have some way to go to achieve workplaces free from sexual harassment, bullying and racism across our industry and we are committed to making the changes needed to create a safer work environment where respectful behavior is experienced by everyone.”

Through this partnership, Rio Tinto, BHP and Fortescue will fund and contribute to the design, build and implementation of new social awareness education packages for deployment through a range of education providers such as TAFE, Registered Training Organizations (RTOs), universities and high schools.

“Education and training are critical to ensuring common understanding of the behaviors that are appropriate and acceptable at BHP,” said BHP WA iron ore asset president Brandon Craig. “This industry collaboration will complement our existing internal training programs, leadership training, communication campaigns, and upgrades to camp security, and support services available to anyone who experiences disrespectful behavior.”

By starting conversations on these vital topics through education providers, the industry can make an important contribution to raise awareness of social wellbeing and related behaviors (collectively referred to as “psychosocial harm”) for the benefit of all Western Australians.
The collaboration partners will invite leading experts in social wellbeing to form part of a working group bringing together government, community, industry and educators across TAFE, RTOs, universities and high schools in Western Australia to design and implement the program.

A pilot program for TAFE students will be developed through South Metropolitan TAFE. The pilot, to be developed in 2022, will form part of core learning requirements for students who may be planning to join Rio Tinto, BHP or Fortescue. South Metropolitan TAFE will go on to share this education package through the broader WA TAFE network.

The partnership will also explore the potential to work with universities and high schools to encompass broader education pathways across the State, as well as for delivery in workplaces. In time, these packages will be made available for application across broader industries and across other parts of Australia.

The education program is one of a number of initiatives introduced by mining companies to address sexual harassment, bullying and racism in WA’s mining sector.

All three companies joined with the Chamber of Minerals and Energy earlier this year to pledge support for the parliamentary inquiry into sexual harassment against women in the FIFO mining industry and committed to work together to eradicate these behaviors from the sector.

“The safety and wellbeing of the Fortescue family is our highest priority and we are strongly committed to providing a safe, diverse and inclusive work environment for all our team members,” said Fortescue Metals Group chief executive officer Elizabeth Gaines.“In line with our value of empowerment, this partnership with Rio Tinto and BHP will provide young West Australians looking at a career in the mining sector with the skills to identify and speak up against inappropriate behavior and enhance the safety, culture and experience of working in WA’s mining sector.”



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