Rio Tinto, BHP and Fortescue are launching a pilot program aimed at helping to eliminate disrespectful behaviour in the resources industry including sexual harassment, bullying and racism.
The launch comes after the three companies formed a partnership in October last year as part of their combined response to reports of unacceptable sexual harassment in the mining industry.
The three companies have worked together with leading experts to design and develop the industry-first program aimed at educating new entrants to the sector, they said.
The evidence-based program will educate participants about the impact of sexual harassment, bullying and racism, including how to recognise and report these behaviours.
The Building Safe and Respectful Workplaces pilot program project, managed by the Australian Minerals and Energy Skills Alliance (AUSMESA), will be delivered on November 15 and 16 by experienced facilitators from Griffith University. The pilot program will be completed by 30 volunteers who are currently undertaking apprenticeships or traineeships with the three companies.
The results of the pilot will be fully evaluated and feedback from the participants will be used to finalise the learning program.
It is intended the program will be delivered from early in 2023 with a particular focus on new entrants to the mining industry.
As part of an ongoing commitment to educate about respectful behaviour, the companies will engage across industry and education providers on how to broaden the reach of the program.
It is anticipated the training course will be made available to other industries in the future through a range of education pathways.
Rio Tinto Iron Ore Chief Executive, Simon Trott, said: “The launch of this pilot is a key milestone in our broader commitment to create a workplace culture that is safe, respectful and inclusive. 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.
“We’re proud to be collaborating with experts in this field, in partnership with industry leaders, and we look forward to the findings from the pilot and the opportunity to share with broader industry for the benefit of all Australians.”
BHP WA Iron Ore Asset President, Brandon Craig, said: “Programs such as this help educate the next generation of workers to ensure our workplaces are safe, respectful and inclusive. 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.
“We’re proud to be working with leading industry partners to deliver this important program as we work together to eliminate disrespectful behaviours from our industry.”
Fortescue Chief Operating Officer Iron Ore, Dino Otranto, said: “At Fortescue, safety is our first priority and we have 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.
“We’re pleased to be working with our industry peers towards the common goal of ensuring that sexual harassment, bullying and other inappropriate behaviours do not occur in the mining industry.”