The Strategist

Mining companies in Australia accused of failing to combat harassment

06/24/2022 - 08:22

A report on the conclusions of a significant investigation into sexual assault in the regional mining sector was issued by the State Government of Western Australia.

According to the research, which looked at a number of complaints made by female workers at organizations including BHP Group, Rio Tinto, and Fortescue, rampant sexual harassment and instances of sexism were present. Additionally, there have been twenty rape instances documented. All cases occurred with women who work in mining operations in Western Australia on a rotating basis. About 80% of the residents of the workers' camps, which are spread out in remote areas, are men.

Mining corporations are not doing enough to prevent workplace sexual harassment, the paper states. "It is never simple to change culture, and it is very harder to impose one. But in this instance, some of Australia's wealthiest and most powerful corporations must go beyond circumspect assertions of purpose and create workplaces that are secure for workers," said Western Australian MP Libby Mettam, who oversaw the inspections.

The report's authors provided a number of suggestions for the management of mining companies and local governments. The local authorities should check compliance and set up forums for discussion of the subject, while businesses should implement safety procedures to prevent similar events and harshly penalize those at fault, up to and including firing.