Resources industry to implement coronavirus protocols amid increased hiring

The resources industry has declared health and safety as the first priority of the sector as it continues to implement national coronavirus protocols.

This involves the Minerals Council of Australia (MCA), state resources chambers and Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association (APPEA).

The MCA stated that companies were already moving to adopt the protocols.

They include regular meetings at site and electronically to connect companies with their employees, contractors and key suppliers.

Commuting should also be recognised as essential under state and territory laws, according to the MCA.

Along with a strong residential workforce in the regions, fly in, fly out (FIFO) is essential to mining activities. This, however, will be reduced.

“FIFO will continue to operate for companies with strict adherence to these national principles and protocols,” MCA stated.

“A safe, healthy and resilient residential, FIFO and drive in, drive out (DIDO) resources workforce which is able to live in and move in and out of regional and remote areas while observing strict health protocols will help the sector support all Australians and our national economy during and after the global COVID-19 (coronavirus disease of 2019) pandemic.”

Workers will be required to declare that they have been fit for the last seven days.

However, the Queensland Resources Council (QRC) stated an industry survey in Queensland had shown that more than half of the sector plans to maintain or increase its workforce.

“The survey found that 58 per cent of companies were maintaining or planning to grow current workforce numbers over the next three months and only 21 per cent or one in five expected a decrease,” QRC chief executive Ian Macfarlane said.

“The results show COVID-19 has not significantly impacted jobs in our sector in Queensland at this stage with a similar survey taken in the December quarter reporting that 15 per cent of companies were expecting to decrease their workforce, a difference of 6 per cent from this survey.

“While these numbers are encouraging the industry is committed to a ‘people first’ response to the detection of the novel coronavirus COVID-19 and a strict adherence to the advice of health authorities.”

Mining companies will remain working with public health authorities to establish a care point for rapid screening processes, reducing the risk of an infected, asymptomatic individual from flying to another jurisdiction.

They also commit to developing and sustaining robust coronavirus management plans, according to the MCA.

“Key suppliers will work to comply with plans and companies will assist them in this task,” the industry body stated.

“All companies will nominate a contact person for governments under these national protocols to relay information between governments, management and the workforce.”

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