Fortescue reinstates normal FIFO operations on the back of mandatory testing

The Christmas Creek operation in Western Australia. Image: Fortescue Metals Group

Fortescue Metals Group is set to return to normal operational rosters of two weeks on, one week off, starting from June 22.

The company introduced its extended roster of four weeks on, two weeks off in late March, which was expected to last for three months.

Fortescue chief executive Elizabeth Gaines said it was the first iron ore company to extend its operational rosters, reducing travel to its sites by 40 per cent.

“I would like to thank the Fortescue team and their families for their understanding, cooperation and support during this period,” Gaines said.

Fortescue came to the decision on the back of the low cases of coronavirus in Western Australia and the state government’s introduction of polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing.

The additional measure was made mandatory to all Fortescue’s fly-in, fly-out (FIFO) employees on May 27. It will be undertaken at least once for each team member.

“Fortescue has been in a privileged position to continue to operate during this time of unprecedented disruption,” Gaines said.

“Our primary focus is the health and safety of the Fortescue family and the wider community and the PCR testing supports our return to normal rosters, wile also contributing to the broader community understanding of this virus.”

The PCR testing is part of the West Australian Chamber of Minerals and Energy Detect FIFO program and the state government’s broader Detect program.

Detect is a state-based population study that is focussed on testing targeted groups of people who do not have COVID-19 symptoms. It aims to examine the prevalence of COVID-19 in key sectors of the state.

Fortescue employees can also opt in to the research element of the Detect program if they wish.

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