A damning parliamentary report entitled ‘Enough is Enough’ (Inquiry) tabled yesterday morning has stirred up the WA mining industry. The Inquiry explored countless accounts of alleged sexual misconduct uncovered in the FIFO mining sector. It calls for serious reform by key industry players such as the Department of Mines, the Worksafe Commissioner and mining companies.
What’s happening in the Mining Industry?
The Inquiry exposed the blatant failure of the mining industry to protect workers from sexual harassment. Among 79 findings, the committee pointed to sexual harassment not being treated as the serious workplace health and safety issue that it is, and the inadequacy of the current reporting threshold for sexual harassment. Among women in the industry, 74% reported being sexually harassed in the last five years.
The committee uncovered a range of unlawful and criminal behaviour occurring on sites, much of which has been “ignored or overlooked by employers”. Many employers were found to engage in a practice of ‘moving on’ impugned employees rather than dismissing them, allowing them to continue working in the industry and facilitating a culture protecting its perpetrators.
What does this mean for the Industry?
The most significant change recommended in the Inquiry is the implementation of an industry-wide workers’ register or accreditation, similar to a Working With Children Card, to prevent perpetrators from finding reemployment on other sites.
Mining companies also need to clean up their act, with recommendations calling for formal apologies to be issued by companies and appropriate compensation to be paid to victims. Companies will need to ensure there are serious repercussions such as dismissal and legal action against perpetrators of sexual misconduct. At the very least, FIFO accommodation sites must have moderate drinking standards and increased safety measures in place going forward.
A full copy of the report is available here.
If you have any concerns about the Inquiry, Pragma’s specialist employment lawyers can provide advice to your resource business. With the Work Health and Safety Act 2020 (WA) commencing recently, the new financial year is a good time to conduct a compliance check to ensure your business is doing what it needs to do to keep workers safe. Contact us today by clicking here or call us on (08) 6188 3340.