Three majors – BHP, Rio Tinto and Fortescue – have gathered to launch a ‘good behavior’ pilot program they say has the goal of eliminating disrespectful behavior and thus creating safer workplaces for all.
The focuses of The Building Safe and Respectful Workplaces pilot program are disrespectful actions like sexual harassment, bullying and racism. The miners first formed a partnership last October as a combined response to reports of unacceptable sexual harassment in the mining industry.
In a joint announcement, the trio of companies said they have been working together with leading experts to design and develop the industry-first program aimed at educating new entrants to the sector. The evidence-based program will educate participants about the impact of sexual harassment, bullying and racism, including how to recognise and report the behaviors.
The pilot program project is being steered by the Australian Minerals and Energy Skills Alliance (AUSMESA), in tandem with facilitators at Griffith University. It will be completed by 30 volunteers who are currently undertaking apprenticeships or traineeships with the three companies.
Results from the pilot will be evaluated, and participant feedback will be used to finalize the learning program.
The three want to deliver the program beginning early next year. As part of its plan, the companies will engage across industry and education providers on how to broaden the reach of the program. Long-term, they anticipate the training course will be made available to other industries.
“The launch of this pilot is a key milestone in our broader commitment to create a workplace culture that is safe, respectful and inclusive,” said Rio Tinto Iron Ore chief executive Simon Trott.
“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.”
Added BHP WA Iron Ore asset president Brandon Craig: “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.”