BHP apologises for sexual harassment, racism and bullying at mine sites

BHP has apologised for sexual harassment, racism and bullying at mine sites and pledged more to tackle the problem, reported Bloomberg News.

“We are determined to eliminate these harmful behaviors,” BHP Chairman, Ken MacKenzie was quoted as saying. Speaking at the miner’s annual general meeting in Perth, he added: “We are committed to providing a safe, inclusive, and supportive workplace culture.”

Australian miners are under pressure to clamp down on sexual assault and harassment after a landmark inquiry unveiled shocking cases of abuse of women at companies including BHP and Rio Tinto Group, often at remote sites where staff stay for several weeks, said Bloomberg News.

The Western Australian state government agreed in September to a code of practice to improve security for remote workers.

As part of efforts to safeguard the safety of employees, BHP has spent $200m on improving security at mine accommodation, according to a pre-released copy of CEO Mike Henry’s speech.

In August last year, BHP said it had fired at least 48 workers in the past two years for sexual assault and harassment, according to a report by Miningmx.

Earlier this year, Rio Tinto released the results of a survey of 10,000 of its employees on workplace culture. It found that 21 of women at its sites had reported actual or attempted rape or sexual assault over the past five years, and more than a quarter of women had experienced sexual harassment.

The report also found that racism and bullying was widespread in both South Africa and Australia.