BHP Billiton enforces ‘severe’ clean office policy

Readers who thought the mining industry was filled with rough and tough guys with anti-social habits will be surprised to hear about BHP Billiton’s new policy that bans thousands of its workers from such things as eating food with strong odours, placing jackets on their chairs and even sticking post-it notes on their computers.

According to a BHP Billiton "Office Environment Standard" email covering office etiquette, obtained by The Australian, the draconian policy sets out behaviour that the company says will be "enforced" by senior executives on each floor of the company’s new Brisbane offices.

The severe tone of the policy, which is being enforced in BHP Billiton’s offices in other cities, has upset many of the company’s employees.

In the memo, BHP workers are told that cleaners will inspect their desks each night and throw away anything apart from a monitor, docking station, keyboard, mouse, phone and "one framed picture".

According to the policy:

    Clothes are not allowed to be placed on chairs or at desks, but must be put in "designated storage areas".

    Post-it notes are to be removed from your monitor/keyboard at the end of the day.

    Other than workstation identification and first-aid or fire warden signage, nothing is to be placed on workstation dividers, walls or doors at any time.

    Small bags may be stored under work stations during the day or stored in cupboards.

    Food must NOT be eaten at your work station.

    Mobile phone ring tones should be kept at a low volume.

Workers are also ordered to limitl the tone and volume of their voices and the language they use in the office, with Ipods and MP3 players not allowed to be used in the offices.

As well, in the company’s clubrooms, which are designed for employees to relax and eat lunch, workers are banned from eating food "that emits strong odours".

There are no microwaves, toasters or sandwich presses in clubrooms, and the fridges are only to be used for the storage of workers’ daily lunch.

As well, workers using meeting rooms are not allowed to eat food and they are not to be used as offices for individual working.

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