BHP has become the first company to roll out voluntary workplace vaccine delivery in the New South Wales resources sector, while the Mount Arthur coal mine administered 5000 rapid antigen tests.
Mount Arthur Coal received approval from the Commonwealth Government to receive 300 AstraZeneca vaccines, as they become available through September.
The new Mount Arthur rapid antigen testing clinic was also a first for BHP Minerals Australia, as the business responded to a national record for daily COVID-19 cases in New South Wales.
Mount Arthur coal general manager Adam Lancey said the management of testing and workforce health had attracted recognition both internally and from the wider community.
“I’m really proud of the team for the way they have stood up the COVID controls in just a matter of weeks,” Lancey said.
“Mount Arthur Coal has been receiving accolades from across the BHP business, the government, regulators and our community alike, and I can’t thank the team enough for their work to stand up and comply with these testing controls to keep our people and their families safe,” he said.
As a result of the proactive approach to testing, BHP stated the site should be able to remain operational, “even if workplace exposure to COVID-19 was to occur.”
The clinic has tested a daily average of 400 employees and contractors, with a focus on those who live in local government areas of concern.
Each of those tested is able to receive their test results in under 15 minutes and continue on with their workday.
The milestone for BHP comes after Rio Tinto recently partnered with the Western Australian Government to roll out a targeted vaccination program for remote communities in the Pilbara region and for fly-in, fly-out workers.
Planning is underway for hubs at several locations in the Pilbara, with vaccines available to local community members, Indigenous communities, Rio Tinto employees, contractors and their families, starting with the Tom Price iron ore mine.