Major miners push for fully vaccinated workforce in 2022

Western Australia Iron Ore. Image: BHP

BHP and Mineral Resources (MinRes) have enforced mandatory COVID-19 vaccinations for their workforce just days after the Western Australian Government authorised state-wide vaccination provisions for fly-in, fly-out (FIFO) and other resources sector workers.

BHP will introduce vaccination as a condition of entry to its Australian sites and offices from January 31, 2022, while in a statement acquired by Australian Mining, MinRes announced to its workers that staff would need to have their first vaccination by December 1 and be fully vaccinated by January 1, 2022 (in line with the WA mandate).

Following public health advice in its decision, BHP Minerals Australia president Edgar Basto said the mandate came down to protecting the health of its workforce and loved ones.

“The science is clear that widespread vaccination saves lives,” Basto said. “In line with Government guidance, we recognise the path forward is through widespread vaccination in Australia, and we are looking at a range of practical ways to support that while protecting communities and workforces.”

Basto said BHP had conducted a detailed evaluation before making its decision.

“We have undertaken a thorough assessment and believe that this is the right path forward to protect the health of our people, their families and the communities where we operate – including remote Indigenous communities – while continuing to safely run our operations.

“We know this raise will questions for some, and we will work closely with our workforce as we go through the process of implementing these controls at our workplaces.”

In a message from MinRes managing director Chris Ellison to his workforce, the company advised its decision was in line with the WA directive and would help protect the WA community when state borders begin to reopen.

MinRes commended its staff for their vigilance since the beginning of the pandemic, praising the company’s ability to keep its workers safe.

However, the company said it needed to take the next step.

The Western Australian Government announced this week it would make COVID-19 vaccinations mandatory for fly-in, fly-out (FIFO) and other resources sector workers from December.

Mandatory first doses will be required as of December 1, with full vaccination expected of resources workers, workers in remote operations or working in rural and remote locations by January 1, 2022.

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