Rio Tinto commits to stamping out sexual harassment

Gregory Crinum

Rio Tinto has reaffirmed its dedication to eradicating sexual harassment from its operations and acknowledges change is needed to eliminate it from the mining sector.

Publishing a submission to the Community Development and Justice Standing Committee’s Inquiry into Sexual Harassment Against Women in the FIFO Mining Industry, the company has indicated its vision for a safer industry.

Split across three parts, the submission provides background on Rio Tinto’s operations in Western Australia – including their history of improving the workplace – and zeroes in on the company’s current understanding of sexual harassment’s prevalence and its current processes to combat it.

Rio Tinto also provides recommendations on how the mining industry can improve at large, echoing findings from the Respect@Work: Sexual Harassment National Inquiry Report 2020 and calling for further clarity and simplicity in legislation.

Rio Tinto iron ore chief executive Simon Trott said the company is eager to address and tackle the industry’s concerns.

“We welcome the opportunity to participate in the Inquiry and recognise the importance of shining a light on the issue of sexual harassment in our industry,” he said.

“The safety of our people is our top priority. I apologise to anyone who has experienced any form of sexual harassment, which has no place at our company and will not be tolerated.”

While Rio Tinto has already implemented measures to provide safer workplaces, it understands there’s still plenty of work to be done.

“Prior to the commencement of this inquiry, Rio Tinto had taken a number of actions across our global operations to address disrespectful behaviours more generally, and we have made some inroads in tackling these issues,” Trott said.

“In February, we established the Everyday Respect Taskforce to improve how we prevent and respond to disrespectful behaviours in the workplace including sexual harassment.

“Despite these important steps, we are acutely aware that people are impacted by sexual harassment within Rio Tinto’s operations and we will continue to seek to eliminate it from our business and the sector.”

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